2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Marionna Poke-Stewart

Sumner High School, 1977Marionna Poke-Stewart

Marionna Poke-Stewart has spent the last 20 years being a strong advocate for education.

As executive director of School Linked Services, Inc., (SLS) she works endlessly to remove barriers to learning through the integration of community resources. Under her direction, the organization has positively impacted the lives of more than 5,000 students and families over the past seven years.

Prior to joining SLS, she worked for the Kansas City, Kansas School District as a parent coordinator at Quindaro and Grant elementary schools, and as a life skills instructor at the former Alcott Learning Center. She was the district's first KidZone program specialist, and truancy specialist.

Born the eighth of nine children, Poke-Stewart said she knew what was expected of her at a young age. School was a priority and she was disciplined to do well. The support of her family, teachers and her surrounding neighborhood and church community gave her reasons to believe in herself.

She considers herself headstrong and outspoken, personality traits that sometimes got her into trouble with her teachers while growing up, But these same traits ultimately helped her to challenge herself and turn obstacles into opportunities.

She believes strongly in the power of education and admits that she is a true model of a "lifelong learner." She loves taking classes and is currently working on her doctorate.

Poke-Stewart has served on a number of community organizations including Tremont Redevelopment Corporation, Citizens Planning Committee of Wyandotte County, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, KCK Chapter of NAACP, the Northeast Neighborhood Coalition and is a member of the Evangelistic Center Cathedral of Hope Church.

Her advice for today's students comes from an anonymous quote, which, in part, says, "Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off of your goals. You are the only one who makes the decisions that determine your future."