2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Harold L. Simmons

Wyandotte High School, 1965

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

Harold SimmonsHarold Simmons believes his greatest accomplishment is being of service to others. And for the past 14 years, he has dedicated his life to doing just that.

As president of the largest Baptist men’s organization in the United States – the National Baptist Laymen’s Movement – he travels around the country conducting workshops, lecturing and promoting Christian fellowship. Through this work, he has been a tireless advocate for the education, development and promotion of young students, particularly African-American inner-city young men.

He said, “If I can get one person to turn around then I will have done good work.”

This is Simmons’ second career in his life. He previously spent more than 29 years with the KCK Police Department. He started out as a patrol officer and also a beat walker in the area from 5th and Washington Boulevard to 5th and Quindaro Boulevard. From there he moved on to other units in the department including homicide and fraud. He retired as a detective in the Chief’s Office. He brought the DARE program to the community, and he worked to improve racial relations. Once, he formed a singing police officer trio with a Hispanic officer (Steve Lopez), and a Caucasian officer (Don Ash).

He thinks it’s ironic that in his first career, he put people in jail, and now in his second, he works to keep them out of jail.

He remembers the support and discipline provided to him by his teachers in the KCK Public Schools. He played basketball in high school and was cut during his senior year. But his coach, Walt Shublom, promised him that if he kept playing he would get him a scholarship to KCK Community College to play ball there. And true to his word, he did. That led to a scholarship to play at Murray State University in Kentucky. After college, he was offered a chance to play basketball in Italy, but wanted to come home to KCK.

His advice for today’s students is, “Learn all you can and get all the education you can get, then turn it over to the Lord to be used for good in your community.”