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Alumni feature - Melissa Nelle Rodgers

Melissa and family

It's great to be in District 87! 

Proof is in the testimony from alumni, like Melissa Rodgers.

Not everyone learns from books and lectures.

Melissa Nelle Rodgers is one of those people.

A 1997 graduate of Bloomington High School, Melissa believes her high school experience in art class, participation in extracurricular programs, and support from teachers helped prepare her for the future.

“I was a smart kid, but I had a hard time learning from books,” said Melissa, who attended Stevenson as an elementary student. “I felt defeated many times, but knowing there were other avenues for me to excel was great for my self confidence. There were a lot of teachers who really cared about the futures of their students. They recognized my strengths and steered me in the right direction.”

Today, Melissa owns and operates a successful interior styling business, MBR Domestic Styling. She lives in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband Kevin, daughter Scarlett, dog Mack Daddy, and cats Frankie and Petty.

As a BHS student, Melissa was involved in yearbook, principal’s board, pep club, senior studio and fashion column writer for the school newspaper.

“I loved my art classes and teacher, and history classes, and most of my literature and English classes. The extracurricular activities were a great place to feel like I had purpose since I had such a hard time academically,” she said.

After graduation, Melissa said she “attended the University of Life” by working in several career paths, including retail, cosmetology, event planning, and design.

For a time, she and her husband even helped manage her father-in-law’s 6,400-acre fishing and hunting ranch in northern Missouri.

Melissa and Kevin welcomed their daughter, Scarlett, into the world at just 27 weeks. She weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces.

“She spent three long months in NICU and had a lot of catching up to do, even after she was released, so I stayed home with her for the next four years,” she said.

Around three years ago, they moved to Kansas City where Kevin sells Caterpillar equipment. The family found a fixer-upper home in a popular neighborhood, which they have spent the last three years completely remodeling.

“It is our labor of love and it also opened the door to my fastly-growing interior styling business,” she said.

For her styling career and blog writing, Melissa said she utilizes skills she learned in BHS English courses, the school newspaper, yearbook, art class and fashion class to “embrace her creative side and turn it into a career.”

“There really was something for everyone at BHS,” she said. “At the end of the day, we all want to feel like we belong and validated. Having such a wide range of extracurricular activities was a great way to have a place for everyone to fit in.”

Melissa and daughter

See Melissa's talent at www.mbrdomesticstyling.com.

Do you know a BHS grad who is using their school experience to achieve great things in adulthood? Email perezj@district87.org.