Recent Stories

Sixth-grade teacher helps students learn to believe in themselves, have confidence and to support one another

I am writing to not only recognize but also thank my daughter's sixth-grade teacher; Mr. Ben Vinck. Reagan has been a student at Richardson Elementary since kindergarten. We have been blessed to be a part of such an amazing school and fortunate that our children have always had amazing teachers. With that being said, going into Reagan's sixth-grade year she learned that for the first time of her elementary life she would have a male teacher. Sixth grade came with great intimidation as is and now a male teacher....she was terrified to say the least. Reagan has always been our shy child so we knew we had to reassure her that she would have just as an amazing relationship with a male teacher as she would a female teacher. Well, needless to say, not only did Reagan grow out of her shyness but she as well as other classmates came to love Mr. Vinck. Mr. Vinck taught the students more than just the required curriculum. He taught them to believe in themselves, have confidence, never give up and how to support one another. Mr. Vinck listened to each and everyone of them. He gave them his time and undivided attention. He made sure every student knew that they mattered. One of the ways Mr. Vinck built these relationships was showing interest in their life not only in school but outside of school. Mr. Vinck told each and every student that he would attend at least one of their extracurricular activities; for my daughter that activity was dance. One thing we have learned over the years of dance is that the competition days are long and usually out of town. We did not expect her teacher to honor his commitment considering the circumstances. Well, to our surprise and our daughter's, Mr. Vinck kept his commitment and drove an hour out of his way to support his student and watch her dance. Not only did he come but also brought his older sister who was previously a dancer and is now a nurse -- exactly what Reagan wants to do when she grows up. It was so awesome to see the excitement in Reagan's eyes and an incredible opportunity for her to meet someone that she aspires to be like.
I cannot say thank you enough, Mr. Vinck. I hope you know how much you are appreciated for going above and beyond. What you have done for our daughter as well as other students is remarkable. You have taught them skills and given them memories that they will hold onto for a lifetime. Thank you!

Submitted by Brett and Jennifer Maynard

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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.