2016 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Marcus D. Gladdis

Marcus D. GladdisSumner Academy of Arts and Science, 2005

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Claude Huyck Elementary and Arrowhead Middle

More than a decade ago, Marcus Gladdis demonstrated the value of exiting high school with the skills necessary for college and careers. When he graduated from Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, Gladdis had earned a semester of college credit, one of the goals of the Diploma+ program. He went on to Kansas State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Information Management Systems. Currently, he is a program manager at Cerner Corporation.

Gladdis places a high value on education. “I know a lot of times people find education to be easy,” Gladdis says. “But if you really focus on what you are learning, it goes a long way. Value the education, because that’s the only thing they can’t take from you.”

Sports was also an important part of his experience growing up in Kansas City, Kansas, and he credits his athletic pursuits with teaching him many life lessons. “Sports gives you a focus,” he says. “It teaches you discipline, along with the added responsibility of making sure your teammates are as successful as possible.”

In addition to helping his teammates succeed, Gladdis found personal success, being named a pre-season all state defensive lineman his senior year. He gives special credit to his coaches, including Coach Holland, who pushed him to succeed, telling him the things that he expected from his life.

Gladdis has not forgotten the support that others gave him, and he is doing his best to pay it forward. He and his friends have organized an Easter egg hunt for the community, where more than 10,000 eggs are given away. They also sponsor a winter coat drive, Clothes in the City, to help give back to the community. He also helps sponsor an annual trip to K-State for incoming freshman, to help them manage the transition to college.

Marcus thinks often of a quote that was on the desk of his first grade teacher, Ms. Green: “Good, better, best, never let it rest; ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” His advice for students: “Don’t be afraid to make a change. A lot of the things that you hold yourself away from, it’s because of fear.”