2008 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Susan Docking

Washington High School, 1973

Susan DockingSusan Docking has built a 30-year career as a Spanish teacher at middle and high schools in both Kansas and Missouri. She will retire in the spring of 2008 from the Olathe School District.

She credits her high school Spanish teacher, Sue Williams, for her lifelong career.

"The reason I am a Spanish teacher today is because of my high school Spanish teacher," she said. "She made class exciting and fun. I had always wanted to be a teacher, but after taking Spanish from her I knew that was what I wanted to do."

Docking's teaching skills have impacted more than public school students. She has spent time as a volunteer Spanish and/or ESL instructor at Ridgeview Retirement Villages and through the Center of Grace ESL Program.

But her true volunteer passion over the years has been with several organizations serving special needs children including the Olathe Special Olympics and Heartstrings Community Foundation.

The Dockings' second child, Blake, was born with Down Syndrome. After his birth, she and her husband, Gordon, became involved in organizations to raise awareness of the disability. Together they founded the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support and resources for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families.

Docking attended Washington High School during the years when the school was on a split session schedule due to an overpopulation of students. There were nearly 800 students in her graduating class. She went to school in the afternoon during her sophomore year, and during the morning for her junior and senior years. One thing she missed was never having lunch at school.

"We had a lot of students, but we also had a lot of school spirit," she reflected.

Docking has a bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas, and a master's degree in education from Emporia State University.