2013 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Linnie Poke

Sumner High School, 1974Linnie.Poke

The high expectations set by her teachers have given Linnie Poke reasons to believe in herself, and have shaped her life.

The lessons she has carried forth from her public school days aren't just those related to academics. They include the way she carries herself and presents herself. She can still hear her principal say, "Shoulders back. . . head up." She learned to emanate a sense of pride for who she was, and thanks to the guidance of those teachers and the many other adults in her life, she became a leader and role model for others.

Poke has spent her career as an educator in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. For 35 years she has been shaping the lives of students with her lessons and her words. She began her career as a traveling elementary music teacher. Some students still confess to remembering all the words to the songs she taught them, and most importantly, they remember her enthusiasm.

She has spent the better part of her career as the principal at Quindaro Elementary School. She finds it gratifying to see the growth of her students and teachers, and to watch the relationships that they build.

During her senior year at Baker University, she performed the Star Spangled Banner at the Kansas City Kings basketball game. That performance resulted in an offer for a scholarship to Julliard. But Poke knew where she wanted to be: she wanted to go back home to KCK and teach and influence lives.

She has received the Black Educators Distinguished Teacher Award. In 2002, the Unified Government designated May 16 to be named in her honor for all she has given to Quindaro Elementary and KCKPS students.

Her advice for today's students is: "stay the course. Gain the knowledge that you need in order to have the options that you want, then make a plan and stick with it."