Story Project: LS R-7 graduates become engaged in unique setting — middle-school Spanish classroom

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Former BCMS students credit their LS R-7 education for opening up countless opportunities

Sixteen years ago, eighth-graders Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma met in Cathy Nalivaiko’s Spanish class at Bernard Campbell Middle School and began a relationship that has lasted through high school, college and adulthood. On Oct. 7, the couple returned to this classroom where Mr. Sharma proposed to Miss Dent.

The 2006 Lee’s Summit North High School graduates both live in Chicago where Miss Dent is an attorney at Sidley Austin and Mr. Sharma is a credit investor at EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. At LSNHS, she was ranked third in her class and was National Honor Society president, and he was valedictorian as well as Student Senate president. Both attended the University of Pennsylvania where they earned bachelor’s degrees with Miss Dent earning her juris doctor from the University of Missouri School of Law and Mr. Sharma earning his master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.

Mr. Sharma said the weekend of Oct. 7 fell close to Miss Dent’s 30th birthday, so the two returned to Lee’s Summit to celebrate with family. “I told her that we had plans to have dinner with some of her family,” he said. “That cover was quickly blown after I told Jillian that I had a surprise for her inside of Campbell as we were driving by the building!”

Dr. Sherri Lewis, principal, opened up the school that Saturday evening so Mr. Sharma could officially propose in the classroom where they first met. He also had the opportunity to decorate the classroom in preparation for the special moment. The couple is planning a wedding in fall 2018.

They shared that they believed the education they received within the school district opened up countless opportunities. “We left Lee’s Summit schools extremely well prepared to attend Penn and graduate school beyond,” Mr. Sharma said. “Our Lee’s Summit education set a strong foundation (from an academic, extracurricular and professional perspective) for our lives.”

The Story Project features personal stories about our students and their accomplishments in school. If you would like to submit a story about your child, visit

Submitted by Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma.

Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma just after the proposal at Campbell Middle School.

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