2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Stacy Chow Copeland

Schlagle High School, 1980Stacy Chow Copeland

Helping people get through hard times is what Stacy Copeland does for a living.

She is the Director of Johnson County Housing Services, an organization that provides housing assistance to low to moderate income families in Johnson County. She has spent nearly 4 years with the organization and close to 12 years in the housing industry and continues to be rewarded each day by giving to others.

"I think each person has an assignment or purpose for their lives, and I found mine in housing," she said. "Through this service, I can help the people I meet get through tough times and accomplish greater things."

Copeland knows financial struggles because she faced them while trying to complete college. But the support of her family and the strength she inherited from her Mom helped her to persevere. Today, she has both her bachelor's and master's degrees, and a supportive husband and children that give her reasons to believe in herself.

She credits her Mom for setting a positive example for her while growing up. A single parent, her Mom sometimes worked two or three jobs to support Copeland and her three siblings. But Copeland said her Mom never let her struggles show. It is an example that she tries to emulate.

Copeland's strong spiritual foundation has been her source of strength throughout her life as well. She is a member of the Church of the Living God where she serves as sanctuary choir assistant director, young people's progressive union teacher, finance chairperson, and more

She has received a number of awards over the years for her accomplishments and volunteerism including the Delta Sigma Theta Torch of Excellence Award and Woman of Achievement Award for Habitat for Humanity, and Friends of Yates Black Woman of Distinction.

Copeland works at surrounding herself with positive people, and she encourages students to do the same.

"Set goals, keep focused, and try not to be distracted by the negativity that may surround you. Draw upon your spiritual foundation that will get you through to great things," she said.

 

2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Randy Roberts

F.L. Schlagle, 1979Randy Roberts

Serving his country in the U.S. Air Force is a privilege to Colonel Randy Roberts.

He is the Commander of the 3rd Operation Group at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. His flying tours include operational assignments in Tactical Air Command, Air Combat Command and the U.S. Air Forces Europe. He previously served as Chief of Security Assistance Operational Requirements in the Office of Defense Cooperation, Ankara, Turkey. He has almost 500 hours of combat flying time serving in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Flying was something Roberts always aspired to do. His original intention was to be an airline pilot. In high school, he said it became clear that entering the Air Force as an officer would be the best way to get the training he needed, so he applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received his appointment from Senator Bob Dole. In 1983, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. He fell in love with fighter jets and the travel lifestyle and hasn't looked back since. That was 23 years ago.

Roberts has received a number of awards for his military service including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Aerial Achievement Medal. In 2005, he graduated from the National War College, Ft. Lesley J. McNair, D.C., with a master's degree in national security strategy.

He is a strong advocate of education and looks back fondly on his days growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. He is thankful for the teachers and administrators who were passionate about their work. He looked forward to learning in their classes each day.

Roberts believes that today's students can do anything they want in this world, as long as they set their minds to it. This is the advice his parents gave him growing up. It gave him reasons to believe in himself. His Dad always told him, "Can't never did anything." Roberts knows today that Dad was right.

 

2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Michael Macias, Jr.

J.C. Harmon High School, 1986Michael Macias, Jr.

Michael Macias is a role model for youth, and a community and business leader.

A corporate professional and U.S. Navy Reserves officer, he lives by the motto, "life is what you make it" and he has thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Growing up in a large family, he didn't know if college was an affordable option so he joined the Navy upon graduating from J.C. Harmon High School. His goal was to learn a trade. He was highly successful and was hand-picked to be an instructor after his first tour of duty. He studied the field of aviation electronics and at the age of 21, became one of the youngest aviation electronics instructors and course managers in the Navy. He received two Achievement Medals for his training management accomplishments.

He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in education (with honors) from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Baker University. He has designed and developed education and training programs for corporate giants such as Applebee's International and Sprint PCS, all the while serving in the Navy Reserves.

He said he loves the Navy because he loves helping people. But his service to his country and community doesn't stop with the Navy. Over the years, he has served as a volunteer with a number of youth organizations including Big Brothers and Sisters, Junior Achievement, Pop Warner Football and the YMCA. He also has dedicated countless hours to the Rose Brooks Center for domestic violence. And he is active in the International Society for Performance Improvement, KC Chapter, where he recently ended his term as president.

Macias said growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas School District taught him to be accountable and responsible. He is grateful to influential teachers like Ms. Perkins at Harmon. His stepfather, Jesse Trujillo, also gave him reasons to believe in himself and encouraged him to make a difference through his strong influence.

 

2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Ramon Murguia

J.C. Harmon High School, 1977Ramon Murguia

Ramon Murguia has committed his career to excellence, both professionally and through his highly committed sense of community service. Following his 1981 graduation from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting, he obtained his juris doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1984.

He began his career in 1984 as an associate with a greater Kansas City law firm, offering counsel to corporate clients on a variety of legal matters including commercial loan transactions. In 1991, he founded his own practice, continuing to serve a broad range of small and mid-sized corporate clients in general commercial transactions. He also works in the area of estate administration and general civil litigation.

He comes from a family of lawyers and is proud to call Kansas City, Kansas, his home. He lives in the Argentine community in the same neighborhood where he grew up. His children attend his former elementary school, Emerson.

"I came back to KCK because I received so much support from this community growing up that I wanted to spend my life here and help others," Murguia said.

Murguia's community commitment is strong. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Francis Family Foundation and the Wyandotte Health Foundation. He is chairman of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund, a field of interest fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation established to improve the quality of life of the Latino community. More than $1.4 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,700 Hispanic students through the fund during the past 21 years.

Murguia credits a handful of teachers from the KCK School District for giving him reasons to believe in himself while he was growing up. He fondly remember his fourth grade teacher, Miss Sample, who taught him Greek mythology, and credits his high school business teacher, Mrs. Majors, for encouraging him to apply to Harvard.

"Teachers make such a difference in the lives of students," he said.

 

2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Marsha Oyer

Wyandotte High School, 1970Marsha Oyer

Since the age of seven, Marsha Oyer has wanted to be a teacher.

Her mother teases her about the way she used to line up the neighborhood kids in her backyard clubhouse and give them homework assignments. Her inspiration came from her day-to-day contact with her own teachers in the Kansas City, Kansas School District, at William Allen White Elementary, West Junior High and Wyandotte High schools.

She still remembers all of her teachers' names, especially those who taught her a love for music.

"They were always very caring and organized, and they went the extra mile in the classroom and outside the classroom," she reflected.

Upon graduating from Wyandotte in 1970, she enrolled at the University of Kansas, studying music education then came back to the district to carry on the legacy given to her: inspiring students to believe in themselves. She said KCK has always been home and there's no place else she'd rather be.

She has a deep sense of community, which can be witnessed through her vast involvement in local organizations. Each position she has taken on has been dear to her heart. She is a graduate of Class II of Leadership 2000. She has held numerous board and committee positions with Sigma Alpha Iota, a women's music fraternity, and she has been an active member of the Kansas Music Educators Association since 1975. She has been a devoted member of the Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties for more than 20 years. Her love of children has led to her volunteerism with organizations such as the Sunflower House, Kaw Valley Center and Special Olympics.

In 2004, her unending dedication to the teaching field earned her the Secondary Teacher of the Year Award from the KCK School District.

Her advice to today's students is, "always have dreams and strive to be the best you can be all the time. Don't be the underdog; always be the champ."