2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Dr. Lynette Sparkman-Barnes

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, 1988Dr. Lynette Sparkman-Barnes

Lynette Sparkman-Barnes still has the journal given to her by her sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hoenshell. Meant to be a source of inspiration, it served its purpose then and still does today.

Sparkman-Barnes strives to give that same inspiration to today's young people, and many would agree that she is succeeding.

She is the co-founder and vice-president of Kansas City, Kansas SCOPE (Strong Community Outreach Partnership for Education). The organization works to help local youth through education and by fostering positive community relationships. They provide after-school programs for students and educational training for staff.

Sparkman-Barnes also serves the emotional needs of young adults as the director of campus counseling at the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth. In addition, she operates a private counseling practice in KCK.

Her parents were both long-time educators in the KCK School District and the dedication they showed to students set an example for Sparkman-Barnes while she was growing up. She is grateful to them for inspiring her and encouraging her to follow her dreams. There were a number of teachers, outside her family, who also gave her reasons to believe in herself. They include Ron Hassig, Linda Hollinshed, Teri Marietta and Marlene Ayers from Sumner Academy of Arts and Science.

Sparkman-Barnes recently was ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church as an associate pastor, and she is working on a master's degree in theology from St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo. Her husband, the Rev. Stephen Barnes, is the pastor of St. Luke AME Church in Liberty, and Sparkman-Barnes thrives on working with the youth in the congregation to make a difference in their lives.

Today she still pulls out her old sixth grade journal for inspiration, jotting down her thoughts and reading over past ones.

"I find a lot of solace in knowing that words that were said at one point in time find new meaning later on in life," she said.