2017 BHS Hall of Fame Inductees

The Belton Educational Foundation will honor four new inductees into the Belton High School Hall of Fame at the All Class Reunion and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at noon on Saturday, Aug. 5 at Belton High School.

Established in 1998, the BHS Hall of Fame honors the lifetime achievements of those who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers, for service and contributions to their communities, or in other ways that reflect positively on the educational foundation received at Belton High School.  Nominated by community members, family and or peers, Hall of Fame members are determined by committee. The committee consists of current Hall of Fame members, school district staff and members of the community.

This year’s inductees are:

Louis Wilckens, 1961-2000

LouisWilckensLouis Wilckens began his career in 1961 in the Belton School District teaching science in the Junior High School on the third floor of what is now the Administration Building. During the early seventies, he moved to the high school where he taught Biology, Advanced Biology, Physiology, Physics and Chemistry. His innovative style of teaching kept students engaged in activities which enabled students to experience science.  He started a Science Olympiad team after school and participated in contests throughout the Kansas City area, usually placing in the top three schools.  He would also take his advanced classes to the elementary schools where they would work with younger students on various science experiments. Louis loved teaching and science, but most of all, he loved his students.  He carried this love outside the classroom, officiating football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and softball.  He also taught Sunday school to high school students in his church for many years.

Mr. Wilckens retired from teaching in 2000 but continued his service to the Belton School District by volunteering his time as a YouthFriend in various buildings, and received Volunteer of the Year for the 2002-2003 school year.

His other honors include recognition from the MSHSAA for 25 years of officiating young athletes in interscholastic programs; Certificate of Appreciation from the Missouri NEA for his 39 years dedicated to the teaching profession in public schools; and Resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives for 39 years of teaching in the Belton School District.

Eric E. Hankins, Class of 1945

Eric HankinsEric Eugene Hankins was a lifelong resident of Belton. He attended Belton High School, graduating early in April 1945 to join the United States Navy during WWII. During his time at BHS, he was active in Future Farmers of America.

After returning home from the Navy, Hankins attended Kansas University to study Engineering.  In 1950, he was hired by Westinghouse as a jet engine blade grinder, but was quickly promoted to engineering technician, where he  designed fuel nozzles for the Saturn V rocket. In 1957, Westinghouse offered Hankins a position in their Atomic Energy Division in Pittsburgh, PA, working on the Polaris ICBM, however, he declined the offer in favor of returning to Kansas City to work for Benson, Boeing, and other defense contractors before returning to the family farming business.  When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, Hankins received a congratulatory phone call from NASA on that historical day for his contribution to the project.  In 1971, he and his wife moved to Henry County, Missouri, where they operated a fescue seed buying station for Pennington Seed Inc., until his retirement.

Mr. Hankins passed away in September 1998. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite and five children: Debbie, Eric, Victoria, Keith, and Clayton.

Karen Fletcher, Class of 1979

KarenFletcher-webDuring her time at Belton High School, Karen was active in marching band, concert band, track, soccer and a member of the National Honors Society. Soon after graduation, she entered the workforce, working in accounts payable at several local businesses before settling at King Louis International where she stayed for 23 years. During that time, she rose up the chain from accounts receivable clerk to office supervisor. When the company closed their doors in 2006, Fletcher went back to school, graduating from Longview Community College in 2007 with an Associates of Applied Science and Business Management Degree.

In 2008, Karen and her husband, Jeff, purchased Kansas Business Forms & Supplies, Inc. from her uncle and moved the company from Wichita, KS to Main Street in Belton where it continues today as Fletcher’s Forms, serving Belton and surrounding areas. As President and Chief Financial Officer, she has been instrumental in growing the business to its current success, acquiring two other business to incorporate into the operation.

Ms. Fletcher is very involved with the community. She has served as an officer for the Belton Historical Society, as a board member for the City of Belton’s Zoning Board of Adjustments and the Belton Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, she was elected to the Belton School District Board of Education where she continues to serve today as well as Board Liaison to the Belton Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.

Kevin Murphy, Class of 1992

KevinMurphyDuring his time at Belton High School, Kevin Murphy was best known for his athletic achievements, which included being selected to the All-Conference team and team leader for three consecutive years as well as named Varsity Pitcher of the Year in 1992.

Motivated by his love for the game, Murphy turned down a full academic scholarship to the University of Missouri to walk-on at Pittsburg State University and continue his baseball career. He quickly established himself as a team leader. In his senior year, the team went on to play the best season in school history culminating in the school’s first trip to the NCAA Division II World Series Regional. Murphy went on to finish his Pitt State career as the All-Time School Leader in Career Winning Percentage by a Pitcher. During this time, he also received numerous academic awards, graduating with a degree in Accounting with a 4.0 GPA.

After college, Murphy continued to be heavily involved in coaching Belton youth in Little League Baseball, Flag Football and Basketball and was named Coach of the Year by the Belton Parks and Recreation Department.

Murphy’s professional accomplishments are also significant. He has maintained a very successful accounting career, being named CFO for an 80+ million dollar General Contractor in 2003, where he stayed until starting his own financial consulting firm in 2008.

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