SM South teacher with senior graduating from school today says she ‘wouldn’t have wanted my kids to go anywhere else’

Cora Selzer graduates from SM South — where her mom Leslie is an engineering teacher — today.

It’s graduation time in Shawnee Mission, so we’ll be taking a look at graduating students from each of the district’s high schools this week. We started this morning with the Wilhoit family and their quadruplets graduating from SM West.

With a high school band director for a dad and engineering teacher for a mom, Cora Selzer has had math and music as prominent parts of her life essentially from day one.

“There’s music and math from the womb out,” said her mom, Leslie.

And Leslie has gotten a first-hand experience watching Cora’s talents flourish in those subjects. For the past six years, Leslie has taught at SM South, meaning she and Cora have been in the same building for Cora’s entire high school career.

Though the two didn’t see each other all the time — “Probably just a couple times a week,” Leslie said — there were some advantages.

From Cora’s perspective, some of the benefits of having a parent on site were logistical.

“It makes it pretty easy to get a signature on a permission slip,” Cora joked.

From Leslie’s perspective, though, teaching at the same school where her daughter has thrived the past four years has been a special joy.

“She’s really proven herself both in academics and in music,” Leslie said. “It’s nice to have an understanding of what her high school experience is like. I think I get a little better understanding than a lot of parents, which is really cool.”

This fall Cora will pursue her passions for both math and music at Arizona State, where she’ll major in computer science (she just took the Advanced Placement test in Java last week), and she’ll keep playing with a band (“If I stopped French horn, it would be like cutting off my left arm,” she said.)

Leslie said she can’t imagine a better spot for her own children to go to school than the place where she teaches.

“I wouldn’t have wanted my kids to go anywhere else,” she said.