Distinguished Alumni 2015

Homecoming game recognition
The Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation honored its 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at the Homecoming football game on Sept. 18. From left: Cole Haynes, Ray-Pec High School Class of 1994; Nancy Morris, Peculiar High School Class of 1959; and Linda Bass, Ray-Pec High School Class of 1975. Not pictured is Emily Lange, Ray-Pec High School Class of 2000.

Foundation selects recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award
The Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation selected these four people as the 2015 recipients of the foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award: Linda Bass, Cole Haynes, Emily Lange, and Nancy Morris. In addition to recognition at the football game, the recipients were honored at a luncheon earlier in the day.

The Foundation established the award in 2014 to honor and recognize alumni who exemplify the values, tradition and success of Raymore-Peculiar High School, Peculiar High School, and Raymore High School. The public was invited to nominate individuals for the award.

Linda Bass
Linda Bass
Linda (James) Bass began attending Raymore-Peculiar schools as a sixth grader in 1969 at Peculiar Elementary. She graduated from Ray-Pec High School in 1975. After graduation, Linda received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education - social studies from Central Missouri State University. She later added a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a specialist degree in secondary administration, also from Central Missouri. She also holds certification in English, elementary education, and special education, as well as elementary and middle school administration.

Linda began her teaching career at Raymore-Peculiar in 1979 as a long-term substitute in special education. From 1981 through 1998, she taught at the middle school in the areas of American History, World History, Geography, and Computer Programming.  She was also the National Junior Honor Society sponsor for four years and the student council sponsor for 14 years. From 1998 to 2001, she was the assistant principal at Timber Creek Elementary. In 2001, she began working in the District's Special Education Department. She was a process coordinator until 2011, when she became a director of special education - the position she currently holds.

In the community, Linda is the organist at First Baptist Church - Peculiar and also works with the Harvester’s mobile food pantry at the church. She has been married to Steve Bass for 36 years and they have one daughter, Melissa, who graduated from Raymore-Peculiar in 2005.

Cole Haynes
Cole Haynes
Cole Haynes graduated from Raymore-Peculiar High School in 1994. He received a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University in 1998, and a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2003. He, his wife Karen and two-year old twins live in New York City where Cole directs a research laboratory at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is also a Professor at Cornell Medical School.

Using genetics, cell biology and biochemistry, his laboratory investigates the underlying causes and effects that drive age-associated disorders including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and bacterial infections. Specifically, his lab examines how cells adapt to energetic or mitochondrial dysfunction via intracellular signaling and the regulation of gene expression. His work has been published in the best international science journals, including "Nature and Science." He is invited to universities and research institutes worldwide to present his laboratory’s latest research.

Cole was selected Alumnus of the Year from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and was named an Endowed Faculty Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering. His lab has received multiple federal grants and he sits on national and international grant review panels including sections at the National Institutes of Health and the European Research Council.

Emily Lange
Emily Lange
Dr. Emily Lange, a Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, is a 2000 graduate of Ray-Pec High School. She is the daughter of Ted and Meryl Lange. 

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and a bachelor of arts degree in political science. She attended the University of Missouri School of Medicine. During medical school, she was involved in local medical clinics and organized international medical mission trips to Guatemala and Jamaica. 

She graduated from medical school in 2008, receiving the Distinguished Rural Medical Student award. Dr. Lange then moved to Omaha, Neb., to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Upon completion, she moved to St. Joseph, Mo., to work for Heartland Regional Medical Center. She now works in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as a board-certified OB/gyn.

Dr. Lange has always had an interest in caring for the under-served and is able to do this daily in her clinic. She enjoys educating women about their health and being with them through life's milestones. She describes her profession as the highest of highs in the birth of a child and the lowest of lows when bad news has to be delivered. She relies on God to give her the strength and discernment to do her job well. 

Emily and her husband, Arnaldo Ovalles, and their two children live in Omaha. They enjoy spending time together in local parks, playing baseball and cheering for the Royals. She is still working on her high school Spanish skills and has the opportunity to practice daily with her bilingual son and in-laws. 

Nancy Morris
Nancy Morris
Nancy Morris was born in McPherson, Kan. After her family moved to Peculiar, she attended Peculiar High School, graduating in 1959.

Nancy retired from Civil Service after working for 28 years with the United States Department of Defense. She also retired from the United States Naval Reserve after serving 20 years of honorable service. Attending Johnson County Community College, Nancy earned an Associates of Arts degree.  She also successfully completed many leadership and professional courses while serving with the Navy. 

After retirement, Nancy became actively involved with Prairie Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). She is currently Regent of Prairie Chapter NSDAR leading a staff of women in performing a myriad of tasks and assignments related to civic and community involvement, patriotism, and local schools involvement and recognition.

Appointed by the President General NSDAR, she serves as a Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Representative for the Kansas City VA Hospital. She also works with John Knox Village Hospice to ensure their veterans are honored and recognized.

Serving on the General Board of the Honor Flight Network of Kansas City (HFNKC), she is involved in the events of each flight. By organizing and conducting many fund raisers, she has been personally responsible for donating many thousands of dollars to HFNKC.  As one of the fund raisers, she authored a book “Show Me, Rosie!” using true stories submitted by Missouri Rosie the Riveters about their contributions to the WWII effort. All proceeds of the book sales are donated to HFNKC.   

Nancy and her husband, Richard, live in Raymore. They have 6 children, 11 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.