2011 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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

Wiley Wright

Wyandotte High School, 1974
Wiley Wright

Wiley Wright's personality and character have touched scores of young people and encouraged them to reach their "personal bests" as students, athletes and citizens.

He has spent 26 years as a teacher and 19 years as the coordinator of the mortuary science program at Kansas City, Kansas Community College. Wright has spent 26 years coaching swimming at Shawnee Mission East High School. His childhood experiences influenced his interests and prepared him for his dual career.

He was a competitive swimmer growing up and made the swim team in high school. He loved the team aspect of the sport and the challenges it provided. He was so talented that he was recruited by a team from another high school. When he took this news to his principal, Tom Rhone, he was told, "The decision is yours, but remember, you have a family here." That's all Wright needed to hear. Those words have stayed with him to this day.

When he wasn't swimming, he spent his time doing grounds work and odd jobs at a local funeral home. That exposure piqued his interest in the field.

After high school he attended the University of Kansas earning a degree in education. Then Wright went on to earn his mortuary science degree at Kansas City, Kansas Community College. Today he remains dedicated to both.

His swim teams have won 15 league championships and 6 state championships. He has been awarded Kansas Swim Coach of the Year three times. To honor his hard work and dedication to his students, the swimming pool at SM East was renamed "The Wiley Wright Pool."

Wright is proud to be able to teach and coach in the community where he grew up. He believes that every person has something important to contribute and he makes sure that all of his students' efforts are recognized.

A Question and Answer Video of Wiley Wright has been posted on SchoolTube (Time: 3:41).