Highlights/Results from the KCKPS Literary Festival
KCKPS Kidzone Director Daryel Garrison Receives 2017 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award
New KCKPS Video Highlights District’s Outstanding Features
KCKPS Officer Orlando Singleton Receives 2017 Consensus Civility Award
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Board of Education - Election Results
Coronado Middle School's Dress for Success Day
Coronado Middle School's Dress for Success Day

 

2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Norman Brown

Wyandotte High School, 1982

Nedra BondsNorman Brown is a Grammy award-winning musician who has been engaging audiences for more than two decades. The multitalented guitarist, composer and singer is known for his rhythm and blues and contemporary jazz.

Brown grew up with parents who appreciated classic jazz music. Guitar music was always around and he began playing the guitar at the age of eight. He said he was nine years old when his father realized he was serious about the guitar so he sat him down and had him listen to the music of his favorite artist, Wes Montgomery. It changed everything for Brown and he found his stylistic holy grail. It was during his high school years at Wyandotte that he fully developed his musical style for which he is known today.

After graduating from high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career attending The Guitar Institute of Technology (now called the Musician’s Institute) where he also taught for a time. He began writing his own music and developing his own sound and performed in local clubs. People began comparing him with George Benson, and soon he was discovered and signed to the MoJazz label, a division of Motown. By that time, he had written more than 100 songs.

His debut alum “Just Between Us” was released in 1992, and was followed with the gold-certified “After the Storm” and then “Better Days Ahead” in 1996. He has released a total of nine solo albums, and two albums with his BWB band which includes saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun.

In addition to his success as a musician and producer, Brown has launched a successful career as a broadcaster. In 2007, he brought his engaging personality to Broadcast Architecture’s Smooth Jazz Network as an on-air personality, hosting his own weekend radio show.

 

2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Nedra Bonds

Wyandotte High School, 1966

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Quindaro Elementary, Douglass Elementary and Northwest Junior High.

Nedra Bonds

Nedra Bonds is an artist who uses her talents to share messages about social justice and to teach and preserve history.

Her primary art medium is quilt making. She has created more than 100 quilts. They have been displayed in various traveling art shows and locally at the Jazz Museum, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Park University. She was commissioned to create a quilt for the Kansas City Chiefs Art Program. It’s called “Common Threads” and it shows three women of different nationalities on the Quindaro Bluffs quilting the northern star.

During the 2013-14 school year, Bonds got students at Stony Point South and Quindaro elementary schools involved in a Quilts of Heroes project. She introduced the students to dozens of Wyandotte County natives and had them create portraits of them. She turned them into eight quilts.

She began quilting at the age of six. She said she was only allowed to watch television if she was doing something constructive while she was watching – which was quilting. She never thought it would turn into her life’s work.

She majored in American Studies at the University of Kansas and spent some time teaching college classes and working in the field of education.She said she first realized she was an artist when people began reacting to her art. Her first quilt told the story of the history of Quindaro (it was created at a time when a landfill was being planned in that area).

She said, “People need to tell their stories for healing as well as for information and to document history. Quilting is a way to do that in a noncontroversial way. There’s something about the stories being on fabric that makes them more inviting to people.”

She still carries with her some of the messages that came from her elementary school teachers who taught her when she was a student at Quindaro. Her PE teacher told students, “You can do anything.” And her 4th grade teacher, who was from Russia, shared stories of the hard life she had growing up, and told students, “No matter what you are going through, you can overcome it.”