May 10, 2013
Longtime Smith-Cotton High School vocal director Sandy Cordes and the late Mayor Bob Wasson were honored Thursday night as the first inductees into the S-C Activities Hall of Fame.
The pair were praised for their own unique contributions to the district during a ceremony at the Heckart Performing Arts Center.
“The Activities Hall of Fame is an opportunity for not only us, but for the generations to come to reflect on the legacies left behind by people like Sandy Cordes and Bob Wasson,” said S-C Principal Steve Triplett as he opened the ceremony.
Cordes, a 1964 S-C graduate, went on to earn a master’s degree in music education from Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) and taught for 20 years in Leeton, Chilhowee, Otterville and Cole Camp before returning to her alma mater in 1989 where she taught vocal and instrumental music until her retirement in 2003.
Before the ceremony, Cordes told the Democrat she always wanted to return to S-C to teach and called the ceremony a “big day for me and for the music and vocal students I had.”
“This is the highest honor a graduate can get as far as I am concerned,” Cordes said. “But I didn’t do it by myself. I was blessed to have so many wonderful students and I share this honor with all of them. We did this together.”
Among Thursday night’s attendees was Chad Williams, a 1993 S-C graduate and former Cordes student who now works as a professional choreographer based out of Kansas City. Williams credited Cordes with being an inspiration to him and “so many other former students I know.”
“I think the most amazing thing is that the net she cast from her ship has created a musically rewarding life and career for many of us,” Williams said. “I can’t think of any better person to receive this honor. She taught us music, but she taught us so much more, like discipline, respect and self-empowerment. I am really happy this is happening for her. It is much deserved.”
Wasson, who died in 2009 after a battle with brain cancer, was born and raised in Pettis County and graduated from Northwest High School in 1949.
However, he earned his spot in the S-C Activities Hall of Fame for his public and vocal support of the district — including campaigning for the levy that funded the building of the new high school and the formation of the S-C JROTC program, said assistant superintendent Brad Pollitt.
“Bob was a staple of this community — a well-respected and honest man of his word,” Pollitt said. “He was always supportive of the district because he understood the value of education and could see the big picture and what the district means to this community.”
Wasson’s belief in the district was echoed by his daughter, Amanda Blackburn, who told the Democrat her father “would be so thrilled with this honor.”
“I wish he was here for this,” Blackburn said. “But it is so special to all of us that so many people remember him and the contributions he made.”