A 1972 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School was honored Friday morning as the 2017 Distinguished Alumni during the ceremony at Heckart Performing Arts Center. Smith-Cotton Tiger Times reporter, Lexi Venable, provided the story.

While some graduates never consider reflecting on their high school experience, Mary McClure, who graduated from Smith-Cotton in 1972, said she feels deeply honored to have been selected to be the 2017 Sedalia School District Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni.

“After all, there’s no place like home!” McClure said.

According to Diana Nichols of the Sedalia School District Foundation, nomination packets are available in December each year to select the following year’s recipient. In order to be selected, each candidate must meet certain criteria to be nominated by the foundation. Nichols said that McClure’s background was a key reason she was selected this year.

“Ms. McClure’s accomplishments as a leader in the corporate and nonprofit sectors in the Kansas City area were very impressive,” Nichols said. “A 20-year career at Hallmark Cards during which she was responsible for one of the company’s most successful product lines ever, as well as establishing the company’s entrance into the digital marketplace by leading the early development of the hallmark.com business.”

On top of her outstanding successes throughout her career, McClure has also given back countless hours to the community by helping provide food for the Kansas City’s Food Bank and the BackSnack program.

McClure said that being selected is a great opportunity to “share how Smith-Cotton has been a tailwind for my career and community service.” She had both teachers and peers at S-C who gave her high standards and expectations. Those standards greatly influenced her life choices, such as attending Harvard University and working at Hallmark. McClure added that she believes attending S-C affected her career path. While living in a world where people tend to “stay in their bubble,” she believes S-C gave her the ability to better understand different types of people, which was beneficial in her Hallmark career, where she created products for Americans of all types. While reflecting on these instances to write her acceptance speech, McClure said, “My gratitude to Smith-Cotton and Sedalia has only deepened.”

The importance of selecting an alumnus each year goes deeper than some think.

“These recipients reflect strong role models with strengths of character and citizenship to inspire and challenge today’s students,” said Nichols, who added that presenting students with individuals who have created their own legacy and have made a name for themselves after their life at S-C has a deep impact.

McClure is excited to be participating in the homecoming parade this year.

“The last time I was in the homecoming parade was my senior year when I was inside a corrugated box painted like an Archives yearbook as we were trying to sell more yearbooks,” she joked.

S-C taught McClure some life lessons.

“I got involved in a lot of volunteer activities in high school which helped me understand how doing things with a purpose, a sense that you are needed, creates true happiness,” she said.

---- Story courtesy of Lexi Venable

Sedalia 200
Sedalia 200

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