A Sedalia education can prove a valuable lifelong asset.
That was the word Monday night as four Smith-Cotton High School graduates became the inaugural class of the Smith-Cotton Academic Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony at the Heckart Performing Arts Center.
Three of the four inductees were present Monday night: Dr. Alan Braverman, a 1979 S-C graduate, now the alumni-endowed professor in cardiovascular disease and professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Dr. Diane Cordry Golden, a 1974 graduate, now a doctor of special education administration who serves as policy coordinator for the Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education and project/policy coordinator for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Program; and Dr. William Woolery, a 1969 graduate, who runs a private internal and pulmonary medicine practice in Sedalia. The fourth inductee, Andre Taylor, a 1991 graduate who is now a doctor of chemical engineering at Yale University, was unable to attend and was represented Monday night by his mother, Salome Taylor, of Sedalia.
“One of the best parts of being part of the Sedalia school district has been the realization of the halls of fame,” said S-C principal Steve Triplett. “Already this school year we have inducted three individuals into the Athletic Hall of Fame, two into the Activities Hall of Fame, and now with your help tonight we will induct four Smith-Cotton alumni into the Academic Hall of Fame.”
Triplett said the academic honors were meant to “recognize the cumulative body of the recipients work as it applies to academic achievement both at Smith-Cotton and after.”
“The goal of the (nominating) committee was to recognize the best of the best ... and I think it is evident we have done just that,” Triplett said.
Braverman called his induction a kind of homecoming, saying he is “very proud and honored to be here.”
“The foundation for my career and success in life was born right here,” Braverman said.
Golden told the Democrat she hopes her induction will serve as an inspiration to young women graduates.
“I think it is important for young women to see positive role models. Too often I think young women are pushed into not focusing on academics. That has changed some since I graduated and I would like to say it isn’t true anymore, but that isn’t the case.”
Golden said she was intimidated when she left Sedalia to attend college because she came from a smaller, rural district, but “when I went to (University of Missouri — Columbia) I had no problems academically. I was as prepared or better prepared than a lot of students.”
Woolery echoed the sentiment, saying teachers at Horace Mann Elementary “made us want to learn” and “by the time we got to high school that was already instilled in us.”
“There were lots of smarter kids than me, but I always tried hard,” Woolery said. “I got a wonderful education out of this town.”
Salome Taylor told the Democrat she is “very, very proud” of her son, Andre, and is happy with his success.
However, “it took a lot of hard work and there were some disappointments. The road wasn’t always easy for him.”
Andre was always able to stick to it, despite the disappointments and setbacks. There were people who told him he couldn’t do it, but he always said ‘I know I can.’ I always tell him to stay strong in God and he has done that,” Salome Taylor said.
The four Smith-Cotton High School Academic Hall of Fame on Monday night were:
•Dr. Alan Braverman, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 1979. Braverman graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; he completed a residency in internal medicine at Brigham Women’s Hospital and served as chief medical resident at Harvard Medical School of Boston. In 1991, Braverman joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he is currently the alumni-endowed professor in cardiovascular disease and professor of medicine.
• Dr. Diane Cordry Golden, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 1974. She received a master’s of science degree from the University of Central Missouri, and a Ph.D. in special education administration from the University of Missouri. Golden currently serves as project/policy coordinator for the Association of Assistive Technology Acts Program.
• Dr. Andre Taylor, who graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in 1991. Taylor went on to receive a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla, a master’s of science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and most recently a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. Taylor is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. In 2011, Taylor received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama.
• Dr. William Woolery was the salutatorian of the Class of 1969. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia on a Curator’s Scholarship before entering medical school at St. Louis University. Woolery did his internship and residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Woolery is board certified in both internal and pulmonary medicine. Woolery returned to Sedalia where he continues to operate a successful practice.