KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- MaKenzie Ammons, a freshman at East High School, did quite a bit of homework last night, writing down questions.
“I was up until 11:00 last night,” MaKenzie said.
But it wasn’t for her class. It was for her superintendent, Dr. Mark Bedell.
“For him actually taking time out of his busy day, I figured I could've put in work to ask him questions that I genuinely wanted to ask,” MaKenzie said.
On Wednesday, MaKenzie and several students from different KCPS schools sat down for a town hall forum with their superintendent, addressing concerns and suggestions about their middle and high schools.
“I felt like I was on 'Meet The Press' today. The students asked some very tough questions,” Bedell said. “And some of them were based on the political landscapes that exist with this country, the way race plays out here in the United States, and kids talking about how they can help us help them be more successful.”
“If we don't do our side with the superintendent, his fire could possibly die out,” Lincoln College Prep junior Patience Zulu said. “And he seems to have a lot of great ideas. If we want that to be implemented, we have to do our part. “
With a variety of ways to improve the school system, Bedell said he wanted to keep the forum open and honest.
“I'd tried to keep it as authentic as I could possibly do and then making sure these kids walk out of here with a sense of hope that their voice is being heard,” he said.
Students listened in and weren’t shy to step up to the mic.
“We are the students, we are the people going through these programs and if they're not efficient, then we have a say-so on whether or not we want them in our schools,” MaKenzie said.
Bedell said the message he wants to leave with these students is changing the future of KCPS.
“I want everybody to leave out of here understanding that the narrative that people have of us, those days are over with. Those days are gone,” Bedell said. “It's time for us to move on, for us coming together as a city to do what we need to do to serve these children.”