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Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown, a member of Smith-Cotton’s Class of 1957, devoted much of his life to the art of speech and debate, first as an S-C student and later as an educator and entrepreneur. He became a national influencer in the field, receiving four National Forensics League Diamond Key Awards and earning induction into the league’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
Brown taught debate and public speaking at Center High School in Kansas City for 30 years, leading his students to success at local, state and national competitions. He also served as adjunct faculty at CMSU, UMKC, Rockhurst and in the Metropolitan Community College district. He provided insights on high school debate in textbooks and films, and was recognized as the 1985 Teacher of the Year by the Speech & Theater Association of Missouri; he also served on that group’s board of directors.

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Smith-Cotton Activities Hall of Fame

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Sandy Cordes

Sandy Cordes is a 1964 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School. After graduation, she attended Central Missouri State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. She later returned to CMSU and received a Master's Degree in Music Education. For 20 years, Cordes taught vocal and instrumental music in Leeton, Chilhowee, Otterville, and Cole Camp schools. In 1989, she returned to Sedalia, where she became the director of Vocal Music for Smith-Cotton High School. During her tenure at Smith-Cotton, the vocal music program blossomed into one of the finest in the state. The success of the program led to Cordes becoming a leader among her peers through the Missouri Choral Directors Association and the Missouri Music Educators Association.

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Robert L. Cummings

Smith-Cotton students learned a lot under the guidance of music teacher Bob Cummings, chiefly that, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."
Mr. Cummings taught music in the Sedalia school district for almost 30 years, 16 at Smith-Cotton High School. He taught concert, marching and jazz band, as well as orchestra and vocal music. He also was an Air Force veteran of World War II, serving four years with the 551st Air Force Band. Mr. Cummings performed with the Sedalia and Marshall symphonies and the Liberty Park Concert Band.
When Mr. Cummings became Smith-Cotton's director of music, he succeeded another S-C Activities Hall of Fame member, Geraldine Schrader. During his tenure, S-C music students and groups won numerous awards and honors, and he inspired many to become professional musicians or music educators. 

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Sue Heckart

Sue Heckart's benevolence is seemingly boundless, especially when it comes to supporting the students of Sedalia School District 200. A member of Smith-Cotton's Class of 1957, Heckart was born with music in her veins, performing in a trio with her parents, Stella and Del. Her interest in S-C and arts education has continued throughout her life, as evidenced by the Heckart Performing Arts Center, donated by Sue and named in honor of her beloved parents. For more than 40 years, Heckart and her Heckart Family Foundation have fulfilled wish lists for not only instrumental and vocal music programs, but also other Sedalia 200 departments, including scholarships and financial support for trips or events. Sedalia's arts students have no greater advocate than Sue Heckart.

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Dr. Maurice (Gene) Kelley II

Dr. Maurice (Gene) Kelley II, a 1988 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School, is a freelance bassist and clinician. He is the former Director of Orchestras at Angelo State University and founder of the ASU Symphony and Strings program. 
While a student at Smith-Cotton, Dr. Kelley was a four-year performer and letterman in orchestra; he also played in S-C’s Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Combo and Pep Band. He was in the Pit Orchestra for four musicals. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Othmer Graduate Fellowship, a Master of Music degree from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Missouri State University.

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Brenton Ryan

Brenton Ryan, a 2005 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School, has performed with the largest opera houses in the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera of New York City, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the Dallas Opera and many more, including Opera Theatre of St. Louis. In March 2019, he made his debut at Opera de Monte-Carlo in Monaco.
During his S-C career, Ryan consistently received “1” ratings at district and state vocal music contests, and as a sophomore was selected for the National American Choral Directors Association’s Men and Boys Choir. His junior year, he was selected for the All-District and All-State Choirs, feats he repeated his senior year. He was a member of the Los Angeles Opera Young Artist Program from 2014-16. Also in 2016, he won the Operalia Birgit Nilsson Award at Placido Domingo’s International Opera Competition in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Ryan is a two-time Grammy Award winner, for Best Opera Recording in 2016 and 2017. He also was the soloist in the 2012 film “In Our Nature.”

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Geraldine Teufel Schrader

Geraldine Schrader was a pioneer for the arts not only in the Sedalia school district, but for the entire community. A member of Smith-Cotton's Class of 1932, Schrader launched many programs and events that continue today, including New Score Singers, the community performance of Handel's "Messiah" and S-C's annual musicals.After teaching one year at New Franklin, she returned to Sedalia in Fall 1937 to take a teaching job. She became Director of Music for the district, leading the band, orchestra and vocal music departments. Schrader's influence extended to State Fair Community College, where she developed the music program and became chairwoman of the Fine Arts Department before her retirement in 1981. She also was the first woman to serve on SFCC's Board of Trustees.

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Samuel Stokes

Samuel Stokes has created musical pieces for everything ranging from a children’s musical, to orchestral groups and even the Doctor Demento radio show.
A 1998 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School, Samuel was involved in several musical ensembles, including marching band, symphonic band, jazz band, orchestra, A Cappella Choir, men’s glee, and played drumset for the New Score Singers and Cabaret show choirs.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in 2002 and a master’s degree in 2005 from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He earned a master’s degree in 2006 from Florida State University, where he composed and arranged music used in theatrical productions and wrote the children’s musical “A Tale of Two Heroes,” which won the Playwriting for Young Audiences competition at UCM. He earned his doctorate in 2013 from Louisiana State University, where he premiered several new works.
He is an audio curator for HitRECord, an artistic collaboration platform created by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His HitRECord projects include a national television commercial for LG and two seasons of the YouTube Originals program “Create Together,” which received an Emmy award.

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David Emmitt Turner

David Emmitt Turner has a lifetime of connections to both big-name performers and big-time musicals.
A member of Smith-Cotton High School’s Class of 1966, Turner went on to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. During that time, he performed in backup bands for Ike and Tina Turner, Bobby Vinton, Trini Lopez, Jimmy Durante and others. He also was in the orchestra for Broadway touring companies for performances in classic musicals including “West Side Story,” “South Pacific,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The King and I” and more.
During his Smith-Cotton days, Turner played in the band and orchestra, earning letters all four years. Turner’s involvement with music included performing with the Air Force Band, accompanying S-C show choirs’ performances for 20 years and owning Shaw’s Music in downtown Sedalia. 

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Bob Wasson

Bob Wasson loved Sedalia. He also understood the importance of education's role in its future. As mayor of Sedalia from 2002 until his death in 2009, Bob was a true supporter of education in the Sedalia community. His dedication to the Smith-Cotton JROTC program was essential to its early success and he remained an important part of the program for the rest of his life. He was also actively involved with other youth groups such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Sedalia Student Leadership Council. 

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Danny Watring

Danny Watring, a member of Smith-Cotton High School’s Class of 1981, taught instrumental music for 30 years before his retirement in 2016. His teaching career started with Grandview schools as an associate band director; he later served as associate band director in the Liberty School District and Director of Bands at Oak Park High School in the North Kansas City School District before finishing his high school teaching career back at Grandview as the Director of Bands.
Watring served as adjunct professor of percussion and music education at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, and conducted the Penn Valley Community College Jazz Ensemble in Kansas City. He also was a guest director, clinician, drill writer and adjudicator across the Midwest, conducting and judging concert bands, marching bands, and jazz bands.
During his days at S-C, Watring earned All-District Band recognition three times and a Superior rating at the state Solo Festival twice. He received both the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and the John Philip Sousa Band Award during his senior year, when he also was a class officer.

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