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LS R-7 graduates become engaged in unique setting -- middle-school Spanish classroom Former BCMS students credit their LS R-7 education for opening up countless opportunitiess

Sixteen years ago, eighth-graders Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma met in Cathy Nalivaiko’s Spanish class at Bernard Campbell Middle School and began a relationship that has lasted through high school, college and adulthood. On Oct. 7, the couple returned to this classroom where Mr. Sharma proposed to Miss Dent.

The 2006 Lee’s Summit North High School graduates both live in Chicago where Miss Dent is an attorney at Sidley Austin and Mr. Sharma is a credit investor at EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. At LSNHS, she was ranked third in her class and was National Honor Society president, and he was valedictorian as well as Student Senate president. Both attended the University of Pennsylvania where they earned bachelor’s degrees with Miss Dent earning her juris doctor from the University of Missouri School of Law and Mr. Sharma earning his master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.

Mr. Sharma said the weekend of Oct. 7 fell close to Miss Dent’s 30th birthday, so the two returned to Lee’s Summit to celebrate with family. “I told her that we had plans to have dinner with some of her family,” he said. “That cover was quickly blown after I told Jillian that I had a surprise for her inside of Campbell as we were driving by the building!”

Dr. Sherri Lewis, principal, opened up the school that Saturday evening so Mr. Sharma could officially propose in the classroom where they first met. He also had the opportunity to decorate the classroom in preparation for the special moment. The couple is planning a wedding in fall 2018.

They shared that they believed the education they received within the school district opened up countless opportunities. “We left Lee's Summit schools extremely well prepared to attend Penn and graduate school beyond,” Mr. Sharma said. “Our Lee's Summit education set a strong foundation (from an academic, extracurricular and professional perspective) for our lives.”

Submitted by Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma.

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Story Project

Sharing personal stories about individual students

Do you have a story about your child that you'd like to share focusing on his or her success in school? As part of "The Story Project," Lee's Summit R-7 will be featuring personal stories about our students and their accomplishments in school. We are looking for stories about a specific incident or an individual school staff member making a positive difference for your child. The stories may be about children from birth through high school and may be submitted by parents and guardians of both past and present students. For example, you might share a story about how your child's kindergarten teacher helped her overcome school anxiety or how a high-school coach helped your son become a school leader.



Here's how to submit your child's story:

  1. Submit a brief written story (200 words or less) about your child's success in school to
  2. If you prefer, contact Janice Phelan, R-7 executive director of communications at or (816) 986-1095, to request that Janice draft your child's story for you to review.
  3. Stories focusing on a specific class, school year, incident or school staff member are preferred over broader stories about a child's entire academic career. Stories should remain positive toward school staff members, other students and other families included.
  4. Students may also submit their own story but must have parent permission if they are currently an R-7 student.
  5. We prefer to include the names of both the parent(s) submitting the story and the child but will also publish stories without including the name. (We require that the child's and parents' names be included on all submissions even if the names will not be publicized.)
  6. If your story is selected, you will be notified and asked to sign a release form allowing R-7 to include your story in publications, websites and school district social media. You will also have the opportunity to provide a photograph of your child.
  7. Stories selected will appear in school district publications, on "The Story Project" website and on R-7 Facebook and Twitter.