2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll
Sumner High School — Class of 1969
Purple jellybean. Those two words are packed with reasons to believe for Sandra Wayne Campbell, because one of her elementary school teachers, the late Dr. Reginald Buckner, used those words to encourage his students. And it worked. So much so, that Sandra used the words to name a nonprofit organization she founded, Purple Jellybean Productions.
Dr. Buckner would say, “‘Give that girl (or boy) a purple jellybean,’ if they had done something well or he wanted to encourage them to succeed,” said Sandra. Today, she uses those words herself to engage audiences during performances of her one-woman show, “Follow Your Dreams: The Bessie Coleman Show.” The play, highlighted in a PBS production that airs nationally, tells the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American (of record) to become a licensed pilot. Sandra has performed her show across the nation and is often called upon as a keynote speaker at schools and community functions. She is proud of her Kansas City, Kan., roots and enjoys every opportunity to share her knowledge and help motivate others to succeed.
In a figurative sense, Sandra has earned thousands of purple jellybeans throughout her life. When not performing or speaking, Sandra works as a manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, where she has received dozens of prestigious awards, including the Combined Federal Campaign “Eagle Award” in 2001 and the Secretary of Transportation’s “Gold Medal Award” in 1999. In 2000, she received the Hearts of Gold Award from the Greater Kansas City YWCA in Kansas City, Kan. She is a member of more than a dozen professional and community organizations, including the Sumner High School Alumni Association, The Central Exchange, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Toastmasters International, the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees, Women in Aviation International, and the International Black Aerospace Council. She attends Unity Temple on the Plaza where she serves on its board of directors and is a member of the chancel choir.
Sandra also credits her family for inspiring her to succeed. Her parents stressed the importance of school, and her older brother and sister taught her to read by the age of four. After graduating from Sumner High School in 1969, she entered the workforce, but returned to school several times and received her associate of arts degree from Kansas City, Kansas Community College in 1985, a bachelor’s degree in communications/English from Avila College in 1989, and a master’s degree in management from Baker University in 1992.
Sandra lives in Raytown, Mo., with her husband, Phillip. They have two children, Tami and Phil, Jr., and two grandchildren, twin girls Alandra and Alexis.