Mara Brock Akil, Raytown South High School, Class of 1988
Mara Brock Akil is a 1988 graduate of Raytown South High School . Raised primarily in the Kansas City Area, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She is the creator and executive producer of the hit CBS Paramount Network Television Comedy Series “Girlfriends” and “The Game” for CW.
Beginning her career in the entertainment industry as a writer on Fox's critically acclaimed “South Central, Mara later wrote for “Moesha”, where she became one of the series' producers after four seasons. Mara also served as a supervising producer on the comedy series “The Jamie Foxx Show”.
Among Mara's honors are two SHINE (Sexual Health in Entertainment) Award given by The Media Project; 2002, 2003, and 2004 NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series; and a PRISM Award. In 2005, Mara and the cast of “Girlfriends” were honored with the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame award for their outstanding performance, production, positive influence and portrayal of African-Americans in film, television and video.
Mara, who is a native of and currently lives in Los Angeles, California has been featured in the media with her selection as one of VIBE magazines's “Top 100 Hottest People”, Honey magazine's “Top 25 Hottest Women in Urban Entertainment”, and Essence magazine's “Outstanding Women Under 40”.
She is married to Salim Akil, with whom she has a son, Yasin. Mara enjoys mentoring young writers.
John Conway, Raytown High School, Class of 1950
John B. Conway is a 1950 Raytown High School graduate who has always kept his finger on the pulse of civic affairs, community affairs, and production safety in the workplace.
Married to Shirley (Sidoreus) Conway since 1952, John served in the United States Army in Japan from 1953 until 1956 earning the rank of Sergeant First Class. While attending Finlay Engineering College , and earning his degree in mechanical engineering, John was employed with the Bendix Aviation Company. He began in the cement industry with Portland Cement, and worked in plants and companies in Tennessee , Georgia , Texas , South Carolina and Arizona .
Among John's honors are serving as the Vice-President of Operations of Giant Resource Recovery, a division of Giant Portland Cement Company. While there, he collaborated with a second individual to develop the necessary equipment and manpower to convert hazardous waste into usable fuel, netting the company nearly $3 million annually.
John was also Vice-President of Operations for Phoenix Cement Company, where his safety program resulted in 3592 days, nearly ten years, of no lost job time, injury free days, with one string of 2977 days without injury.
Throughout the years, in each town where John lived, he served in roles where his community service was also evident. He has served as a secretary of two different Lions Clubs, a Kiwanis member, and also in several Chamber of Commerce roles, including Board of Directors, Vice President and President, in Cottonwood, Arizona.
John and Shirley have four children, Susan, Gary, Chris, and Jim.
Tom Davis, Raytown South High School, Class of 1964
Retired from Septagon Industries which he founded in 1980, Thomas (Tom) Davis is the CEO of Meyer Companies, Incorporated in Lee's Summit , Missouri. The firm has subsidiaries involved in general contracting, maintenance and renovation, concrete construction, and real estate development and brokerage businesses.
Tom is also a partner with Fleming-West Building Company, which became a subsidiary of Meyer Companies in 2007, as well as the Firm Principal of Davis Design and Consulting, LLC, which provides strategic planning, succession planning, and ownership transfer services to small and medium sized firms.
A 1968 Cum Laude graduate of the University of Missouri , with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Tom is a registered engineer in both Missouri and Kansas .
As a member of the Missouri State Board of Education, Tom served from 1987-2006 and for eight of those years was either president or vice-president. Other civic service has included being president of the National Association of State Boards of Education, the founder and president of the Missouri Partnership for Outstanding Schools, president of the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce, and Board of Education member in Scotland County , North Carolina .
In 1992, Tom was awarded the University of Missouri 's Distinguished Alumni Award, and has also received the Outstanding Service Award from the Missouri School Boards Association.
Tom is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, enjoys writing poetry and articles, and is a golfer and fly fisherman.
He and his wife Winnie have two daughters and son-in-laws, Jennifer and Joel, and Shannan and James, and three grandsons.
Lucille Elizabeth (Beth) Leonard, Raytown High School, Class of 1968
With a true calling to the stage in her “roles” as a professional actor, teacher and director, Lucille Elizabeth (Beth) Leonard has represented Raytown well in her profession.
Currently the Dean of the School of Performing Arts and the chair of the Stephens College Theatre Department, Beth has been a teacher at the University of Kansas, South Oklahoma City Junior College, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Central Missouri Sate University (now UCM), Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, and Rockhurst University.
Beth holds a BS from KU, a Masters in Theatre from UCM, and a Masters of Fine Arts from UMKC. Since 1998, Beth has also been the Artistic Director for the Okoboji Summer Theatre in Spirit Lake , Iowa .
As a director, Beth's credits cover a wide variety of plays including Fiddler on the Roof, Steel Magnolias, Harvey , Dark of the Moon, Pride and Prejudice, Driving Miss Daisy, and The Trip to Bountiful .
As an actor, Beth's has appeared in Nicholas Nicklelby, Life With Father, Medea, Brighton Beach Memoirs, See How They Run, Animal Farm, The Odd Couple, and Hello, Dolly.
Beth has been honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award from Stephens College , and the Distinguished Alumni Award from UCM. Additionally, she was the winner of the Denver University 's Play Festival.
She is a member of PEO and the Raytown Christian Church.
Michael Quearry, Raytown High School, Class of 1969
Travels to places like Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, China, Guyana, Ireland, Nigeria, Thailand and Yemen among other, were just a part of Michael (Mike) Quearry's exciting life after graduating from Raytown High School in 1969.
An exploration geologist with the Chevron Corporation by trade, Mike and his wife Eva make their home in Houston , Texas , where he is a Certified Professional Geologist of Texas, a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Houston Geological Society. Mike has had photographs published in National Geographic Magazine and geography textbooks.
Another of Mike's interests includes mentoring youth. He was a tutor for 13 years and a director for three years for Texaco's Bellaire office elementary school tutoring program. He also took students on outings associated with the Sierra Club's Inner City Outing program. He and Eva are involved with a variety of youth activities at West University Baptist Church in Houston , where he serves as a Deacon and an adult Sunday School teacher.
A graduate of the University of Missouri with both Bachelors and Masters degrees, Mike currently serves on the university's Development Board for the Department of Geology. Mentoring three brothers and watching his nieces and nephews grow and mature has given Mike great pleasure.
Michael Sundermeyer, Raytown High School, Class of 1969
Identified as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine in 2004, and listed in Best Lawyers in America, 1969 RHS graduate Michael (Mike) Sundermeyer has served as lead counsel in a variety of professional malpractice, real estate, securities, administrative, product liability, contract, partnership, and criminal defense matters with Williams and Connolly, LLP, where he is a partner.
Mike's national trial practice has emphasis in professional liability defense, complex litigation, and administrative law. He is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia , Maryland and Virginia .
Mike obtained a BA with Highest Distinction in 1973 from the University of Kansas , and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1976, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law Review.
Mike is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars and programs, and has served in a variety of lecturing capacities. Mike's government service includes being a clerk in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackman.
Along the way to or during the practice of law, Mike has been a fireman, a reporter for both newspaper and television, a photographer, a judicial law clerk, a radio disc jockey, a political campaign assistant, lecturer, and a non-profit board member.
Mike is married to Susan Talarico and has two children, Kim, age 15 and Mark, age 13.
John Titus, Raytown High School, Class of 1949
Already a member of the St. Louis Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame, John Titus is now joining the Raytown Schools Alumni Hall of Fame. After having taught in Warrensburg for three years, John was a teacher in the Brentwood School District for over 30 years, and was involved with athletics that entire time.
John was quite an athlete himself in high school and in college. While at Raytown High, he received the Corcangas Trophy for Best All-Around Athlete, was a football and track letterman, and played on a football team which won the Mid-West Conference with a 1—0 record. At Warrensburg, he lettered in football all four years, was an MIAA Champion in indoor and outdoor track and represented Missouri in the first NAIA National Championships in 1952.
At Brentwood , John served as the head football coach for 16 years and as athletic director for the remainder of his career. He was also the head track coach for 31 years, the head baseball coach for a year, the head cross country coach for five years, and an assistant basketball coach. John also helped coordinate the Title IV and handicapped programs for the school district.
John's teams and athletes fared well under his tutelage. He had four undefeated football teams, including a 27 game win streak, and a state championship. In track, his teams won 10 district, 4 indoo, and 4 outdoor championships. John coached 25 individual state champions and 11 relay state champions. The Brentwood Track and Field was named for him.
John and his wife Priscilla have two children Michael and Carrie, and five grandchildren. He is a Sunday school teacher and restores antique furniture.