Tiger Strong: 150 Years

Tiger Strong: 150 Years

Lee’s Summit High School was the original high school of this town until the population grew in our area. However, this is not just a school to many; it is a starting point of their life, a source of inspiration, and a second home.


“Lee’s Summit High School is such an entity in the community, and it has been from very, very early in the 1900s; the school really was built as the hub of the community.” Lee’s Summit High School’s Principal, Dr. Kari Harrison said.

The community used this high school as a strong, dependent resource and outlet to help build their current and future generations.

“When I just look at the school as a whole, and by that I mean, like the people who have lived and worked within it, what they have endured as times have changed has been really powerful,” Harrison said.

As our country and world went through many stages, these changes also affected students and staff in our sch

ool throughout their dailylives.

“I saw it out on the wall here, and I wrote in my speech about when the girls went to the school board and asked to be able to wear pants instead of dresses, so watching those societal changes is something that many don’t think about when they think of a high school but truly is the main source of our success,” Harrison said.

Working through conflict and experiencing numerous tragedies and opportunities helps build people together. Those relationships are not only strong and helpful during the current moment but also last a lifetime.

“I noticed during the celebration I would see groups of alumni here who are walking together, you know, whether it was the guys from 1981 or some people from the 70s, and you could feel the camaraderie that they had.” Lee’s Summit High School’s Assistant Principal, Tracie Gramkow said.

Starting from a young age, the people you surround yourself with greatly influence how you lead others, carry yourself, and learn to grow as a student and as a person, building character.

“Part of the reason why I teach, and part of the reason I do what I do, is because of all of the good experiences I had here,” said one of Lee’s Summit High School’s history teachers, Blake Little.

People in society tend to overreact when a new issue or conflict, both positive and negative, com

es up in our lives. We tend to forget that our previous generations have experienced different varieties of events and have succeeded and failed in learning how to control them. Many tactics and information can be learned from simply opening a history book.

“I could walk over into a storage room and pull the ledgers that showed the people right here in our own community doing the same things that we were doing; just trying to go to school had this exact same experience, and yet we felt like it was unprecedented,” Harrison said.

Relying on others during times of crisis builds us all together and gives us something to fall on when we feel drained from preparation, especially when everyone is going through the same things. 

“The period in time when we had influenza, and the school closed, the school had to go under quarantine, is the same way that we did three years ago for COVID-19,” Harrison said.

However, our current tactic of continuing school online was not an option during the influenza period. As society and our world advance in many different ways, we are provided with more solutions to help overcome times of difficulty.

“Having to figure out how to keep school going. When the world shuts down, and then how to bounce back and still provide a quality experience for kids.” Harrison said.

Lee’s Summit High School has three main things we take in to describe our school and standards: Tradition, Pride, and Excellence.

“It’s also important to me that this school continues to have a strong tradition, that we’re proud of all the things that we’re doing, and that we continue to strive for that excellence,” Gramkow said.

Throughout the years, expectations have mainly stayed the same, but more self-developing obstacles are in the way.

“I’d say the biggest difference is, from when I was a student vs now that when I was a student, kids were 

distracted, but they were distracted by their own thoughts; they daydreamed, they thought.” Little said.

Technology has given us many new ideas, opportunities, and helping tools, but it also has slowly been taking us away from the real world. 

“Now, in school, students are distracted by other people’s thoughts, they’re are distracted by social media and those sort  thing and so for me that’s the biggest difference and how we as a school approach and manage that means we either embrace it or don’t or try to address it I think that’s the biggest thing we are wrestling with.” Little said.

However, staff and teachers continue experimenting with different teaching methods to help students stay focused and succeed.

“When you put together somebody who really, really cares about kids, with somebody who really wants to help them grow, it’s a great combination,” Harrison said.

Students can only reach their full potential from others around them, especially from family. A strong mindset is what leads to becoming a strong leader.

“Our biggest goal is to take care of students and take care of their families and really continue to push them on,” Harrison said.

Over 80% of millennials have at least one mentor they can look up to, which feeds into their career success later in life.

“I just think so much of who I am, and

 so much of what I love about what I do is tied directly to this building and the people that have worked here and gone through it mainly because I have had great friends and great mentors from this school.” Little said.

Lee’s Summit High School has many different groups, sports, and clubs that students can be involved in to make an impact in our community and their lives.

“The opportunities increase in any number of ways, but then to watch students go into numerous other paths and be able to really kind of chase passions, that was a big change, you know, because in a smaller school, you have smaller routes, and you can watch kids explore there and chase their dreams, but this allows them to get much more discreet with those and really go down a path further and deeper,” Harrison said.

Success does not go unnoticed. However, hard work is the only way to get there. Instead of thinking of the misery of putting your all into something, think of the outcome.

“That’s what I always love to see is you know, like whatever the dream is, it doesn’t have to be the NFL; I’m excited for you because you worked to get what you always have wanted and now deserve,” Gramkow said.

Not only has our school undergone many social and mindset changes, but recently, Lee’s Summit High School has undergone a significant renovation to its building.

“So I think seeing how we’re able to come together, it makes it easier than for students to interact with each other, it makes it easier for teachers to interact with each other because they’re not in separate actual buildings a lot of the time,” Gramkow said.

High School is such a big building block in life for students because of the multiple things we experience as our minds continue to grow. We tend to focus on the small things but then see the bigger picture once this section of our life has passed.

“Regardless of what it looks like, or regardless if a bell is working, or the air conditioning is working, or if we’re walking in the rain, or whatever it is, it is about that human piece here and how people connect with each other; that is the heart of what this institution is,” Harrison said.

No one will remember the slight inconveniences we all experienced in the next 50 years, but how our community, mentors, and peers helped prepare us for our future will always be a part of who we are today.

“I would not be who I am today without Lee’s Summit High School.” Little said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Hi-Life Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *