Tag Archives: Pleasant Lea Elementary

Byron Keith

I’m 57 years old.

And I still remember the names of teachers, from elementary school through college, who made a huge impression along the way.  I often bless them and their memory, knowing that their instruction, guidance, and example is part of what made me who I am today.

Mr. Keith was my elementary school principal after we moved to Lee’s Summit in 1971.  He was a good man.

Charles “Byron” Keith

Rest in peace, Mr. Keith.  You have earned your eternal reward.

Memories: 5th grade

Amongst my father’s belongings was this clipping from the Lee’s Summit Journal, sometime in the spring months of 1972.

I won the fifth grade oration contest with my speech “Why George Washington Carver is My Favorite American.”

As I look at this photo, I notice the street addresses of the students. This is of course something that we would never do today in our worries about child safety.

I also notice how many of these classmates were in the school band with me eight years later at graduation.  Is there a correlation between playing music and being successful, or at least voluble?

And I notice that all of the ten finalists list a “Mr. and Mrs.” as the parents.  Was divorce really that less common in 1972?  Perhaps it was!


  • Doug Wesselschmidt is now a city manager of a large city in Kansas.
  • Barb Darabos is retired military, living in Germany.
  • David Collum is pastor of Methodist church in Bolivar, Missouri.
  • Kenda Wilson went on to become of my dearest friends in high school, but time and distance have played their part.
  • I’d love to know where Marque Shafe is.

My high school graduating class included more then 560 students, so I’m not able to find (with complete assurance) all the rest of these folks on Facebook.