Meet the Class of 2012
Rhiannon (Albertson) Ally, Raytown South High School, Class of 1999
Rhiannon (Albertson) Ally graduated from Raytown South High in 1999. She attended the University of Missouri, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and a minor in Political Science.
Rhiannon started her television career in Kansas City, MO at KCTV5 and in Topeka, Kansas at WIBW. While in Topeka she won a Kansas Association of Broadcasters Award for Best Morning Show and was voted one of Topeka’s Favorite Television Personalities.
Later she became the co-host of the nationally syndicated, “The Better Show,” a lifestyle and entertainment show airing in numerous markets across the United States. During this time, Rhiannon interviewed countless celebrities, including Madonna, Ashley Judd, Jake Gyllenhaaul, Denzel Washington, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Stewart, Maria Shriver, Caroline Kennedy, and Gloria Steinem. She traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild during the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She covered the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles as and traveled to London for the World Premiere of “Avatar”. Rhiannon also had the chance to perform on stage in a Las Vegas Show. She has cooked with celebrity chefs, including Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batalli. She was also featured in a music video for musician Matt Whites’ song, “Falling in Love (With My Best Friend)”.
After hosting “The Better Show,” Rhiannon signed on with WCBS in New York City, where she served as an entertainment reporter and substitute anchor for the morning show. During her time there, she reported on the Elizabeth Taylor auction at the famed Christie’s Auction House. She also covered celebrity stories such as Kim Kardashian’s divorce and the birth of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.
Rhiannon is currently the co-anchor of “World News Now” and “America This Morning."
Dr. Dixie L. (Kepley) Arnold, Raytown High School, Class of 1960
Dr. Dixie Lee Kepley Arnold graduated from Raytown High in 1960. She obtained an Associate of Arts Degree at Santa Ana College in 1962, a teaching credential and Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach, in 1965, and earned her Doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne, California in 2001.
From 1965 to 1995 she was an elementary school teacher in the Savanna School District in Anaheim, quickly becoming a mentor teacher helping other teachers make math fun, yet challenging and meaningful. She enjoys seeing the success of her students, even famous ones like Tiger Woods, whom she had in the first grade.
Dixie has long had a heart for the disadvantaged and for children who become overwhelmed or lost in the public school system. She acted on this passion by developing and leading the “Healthy Start” program in the Savanna School District. She also coordinated services for students who came to school not fluent in English. Through Dixie’s guidance her school was recognized as a California Distinguished School.
Dixie’s devoted services to education are evident as she chaired the district curriculum development committee, directed program quality reviews in Orange County Schools and coordinated the school improvement programs. In 1995 she became an administrator in the Huntington Beach City School District and since 2003 has been an adjunct professor and supervisor at Vanguard University of Southern California.
Vanguard University presented Dixie the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2007 and the Presidential Leadership Award in 2010. She received the Alumni Hall of Fame Achievement Award from Santa Ana College in 2004 and the Paul Harris Fellow for Outstanding Community Service in 1997. The Cyprus College Foundation named her Americana Woman of the Year in 2003.
Married for fifty years Dixie and husband Ed, retired TV – LA sportscaster, have one son, Dean, who is a fifth-grade teacher in Los Alamitos. They have two grandsons, Jake and Luke.
Howard L. Bell, Jr., Raytown High School, Class of 1950
Howard Bell graduated from Raytown High in 1950. He received his undergraduate degree in music education in 1953 from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Music Education from Louisiana State University in 1956. Before beginning his music education career he served in the U.S. army at Fort Ord, California, and Fort San Houston, Texas, where he directed the first infantry band during basic training.
Howard then began his career at Kemper Military School teaching band and choir, later moving to Marshall Public Schools where he was the director of bands. In 1964 he became the director of University bands, assistant professor of music and chairman of the wind department, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia.
From 1967 until his retirement in 1980 he was music instructor and the first district coordinator of music for the Raytown Schools.
Mr. Bell was selected to be the conductor of the West Virginia All-State High School Band in 1964. In 1970 he founded the “Heart of America Theatre,” which offers young artists advanced opportunities to perform. The “Music Man” cast of 97 people toured Europe performing in five countries. As chairman of the Vocational Guidance Committee of Kiwanis in 1972, Howard leads the committee that developed a procedure to tape speakers and accumulate pertinent data about professions in education. Howard is also proud to be the author of “Smart Parent, Smart Child’, a guide to the best possible start in life through food choices. He was instrumental in founding the “Scholarship Day” for the Raytown Schools to provide scholarships to seniors at Raytown and Raytown South High School and the Herndon Career Center in 2005.
Howard and Zelia, married almost 60 years, have three daughters, three grandchildren and two great- granddaughters. Zeila often refers to Howard as her “Renaissance Man” because he is always looking for and embracing new fields of interest.
Dr. Robert P. Jones, Raytown High School, Class of 1964
Dr. Bob P. Jones graduated from Raytown High in 1964. He had a highly academic career at Notre Dame, eventually enrolling in St. Louis University Medical School, graduating Cum Laude. There he was President of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society during his final year. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1972. Throughout this career he is most proud of being able to care for children with Cerebral Palsy or other severe congenital problems.
His residency in orthopedic surgery was at a variety of hospitals in Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts. He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Boston University Medical School and University Hospital in Boston. He was also Associate Director of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Scoliosis Cline at Boston City Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Bob is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and was Board Certified in 1978 by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
From 1981 to 1985 he entered the private practice of medicine at Research Medical Center. He was on staff at St. Mary’s Hospital in Blue Springs, Missouri, from 1981 until 2001. He founded Jackson County Orthopedics, Inc. in Blue Springs in 1982. He retired from the general practice in 2001.
Aside from his academic achievement and his professional excellence, Bob and his wife, Diane, have served as medical volunteers, taking medical supplies and children’s clothing to war-torn El Salvador on three different occasions. They also made several trips to Bosnia to deliver medicine and clothing during the war in that country.
Throughout his life, Bob has been committed to the concept of excellence in his personal life and his professional life as a doctor of orthopedic surgery. He is dedicated to his church and community and has provided free medical assistance, supplies and clothing to the disadvantaged people in war-ravaged nations.
Bob and his wife, Diane, reside in Grain Valley, Missouri, and have one grown son, Bobby.
Tony Lowe, Raytown South High School, Class of 1970
Tony Lowe attended Blue Ridge Elementary and Raytown South Junior, graduating from Raytown South High in 1970 and later from the University of Missouri. Already possessing a Private and Commercial Private Pilot’s License, Tony entered Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and upon graduating was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Tony graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Enid, Oklahoma. While at his first assignment, he completed his Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science and Squadron Officers School. His flying career included flying Electronic Warfare Aircraft, Special Operations, VIP Transport, Airlift Support and Training Aircraft. He accumulated over 5,000 flying hours during his military career and served as an Instructor and Evaluator Pilot.
Tony also served in several Special Duty Assignments during his career as an accredited United States Diplomat. These included Military Attache, U.S. Embassy Manila, Republic of the Philippines; Deputy Commander, United States Military Advisory Group, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and advisory assignments in Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Peru. Tony also served in Operation Desert Storm and returned to the area on two occasions. He has flown on all continents, except Antarctica and has piloted aircrafts flying Heads of State, Foreign Dignitaries, Vice President of the United States, Commanding Generals, as well as his family for pleasure.
After retirement from Government Service, Tony was hired by Southwest Airlines where he has been employed for over 13 years. He is Captain with over 15,000 flying hours and flies from his crew base in Baltimore, Maryland.
Tony is proud of his marriage of 40 years to Janet, 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee and his high school sweetheart, serving his county in challenging locations and jobs, being able to learn and use three foreign languages, becoming Captain for a major airline and having his daughter, Amy, give back to the community loving her job as a Raytown Schools Special Education teacher. Tony and Janet have two grand daughters, Alexis and Andrea.
Jann Wynn, Raytown South High School, Class of 1970
Graduating from Raytown South High in 1970, Jann Wynn is truly a story of local success. This small town girl has made a national name for herself in the field of dance. Her humble attitude has connected her to generations of dancers and their families.
Jann began dancing at age three at Miller Marley Dance Studio and considers owner, Shirley Marley, her mentor to this day. At age eight she and her twin sister, Jean, danced away their summers at Starlight. The twins were dancing as members of the Kansas City Chief’s Chiefettes at age fourteen.
At age 21 Jann moved to San Francisco where she taught disco dance classes at the now famous Abby Road. Homesick for the Midwest. she returned to Kansas City where she taught disco at night, choreographed for the Chiefettes and also taught at Miller Marley.
In 1978 she recognized the dream of opening a Christian based dance studio on Raytown Road with her sister Jean. The enrollment grew quickly during a time there were few studios on the Missouri side of the state line. By 1985 the twins had opened four studios, two in Raytown, one in Blue Springs, and one in Harrisonville. Three years later Jann had settled into one studio at her current location in Raytown. Her sister Jean’s health problems made Jann the sole owner.
In 1983 Jann’s teams started competing at the state and national level. In 1989, her team won the National Championship through Dance America, repeating in 1994 and 1996. As Jann approaches 34 years in her studio and thirty years of competition at the national level, she is most proud of individual dancers’ accomplishments. Her dancers range from individual Dance America Champions to starring in Las Vegas, to national commercials, to lead ballerinas, and to performances at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. As recently as 2011, Jann trained National Champion Sheldon Ledbetter and dancer Elijah Thomas, a finalist in a national talent competition.