Metro high school takes top honors locally, nationally

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- U.S. News and World Report ranks it the number one high school in the state of Kansas. The Washington Post has named it the state's "most challenging" school.

The front office of Sumner Academy highlights years of nationwide and statewide acknowledgement. Its walls showcase talented student artwork in the halls where hundreds of successful students have walked.

Some of those include professors, fighters, health experts, CEOs and more.

"From the day that you come into Sumner, the goal is to put you on the path of where you want to go," alum Casie Spears said.

Retiring principal Gene Fite said the school's high expectations, rigorous curriculum and participation in the International Baccalaureate program have been a proven combination for continued success.

"It's okay to be a nerd in this building, because pretty much no one care if that distinction is laid on them or not," Fite said.

He says it will be bittersweet to leave a place that has shaped so many young minds, including senior Alexander Garvin.

"It's like a family environment. Very competitive," Garvin said.

Garvin is looking forward to a career as an artists and video game designer. He's confident his Sumner education has prepared him well.

Sixty-nine percent of the school's graduates go on to four-year colleges. Alumnus Cassie Spears says that's because the teachers prepare students so well.

"It's not just facts and lessons thrown at you to get better grades," she said. "It's you want to become a veterinarian or a computer specialist. Here's the path for the next five years. Here's who's going to supports you. Here's how were going to help you."

Other schools that ranked among the most challenging in the state include Blue Valley North, which came in second. Blue Valley came in third, Olathe Northwest came in fourth and Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita came in fifth.

In Missouri, Park Hill High School came in sixth and Lee's Summit West at tenth.

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