None of us know where your journey will take you but if you use the talents that led you to be in this room tonight your journey will be a success, said Matt Sewell, Vilonia High School principal, addressing the graduates at the Senior Honors Night held Thursday night.
Sewell acknowledged it was an emotional night for many. A bit sad for some and exciting for others. He thanked the parents and grandparents for their support and work regarding 241 students in the 2016 graduating class of Eagles. On a lighter note, he talked about the students’ journey from kindergarten to graduation—parents helping with homework, special projects and being driven to all the afterschool sporting events and other activities as well as the “cash you have handed out for this and that.”
There was laughter when Sewell told parents, “Most of you could retire if these guys would simply pay you the 50 cents a mile for all the miles you have driven them back and forth since they started school in kindergarten. So, when they start their careers and get a good job and they are making good money, you should submit to then an invoice just for the mileage.”
“This will be the largest graduating class in Vilonia High School’s History,” Sewell added. Many of the students were in attendance. However, Sewell said, some were playing baseball and softball at Greenbrier and others are on a band trip to Disney World and couldn’t be in attendance.
Representatives from many colleges awarded scholarships. Students will be attending colleges in other states. Several will go closer to Vilonia. For instance, 10 students including Sarah Brantley, Samuel Fay, Megan Lee, Jed Meyers, Noah Meyers, Louis Romska, Bryan Sampson, Nick Scott, Jamie Swain and Kaitlin Wells will be attending Harding University.
Also, local scholarships were announced including:
--Fred Fowlkes, president of the Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce, presented awards to Faith Burroughs, Tripp Reed and Sherry Kimbrell.
--The Paul Krisell Memorial Scholarship was presented to Michelle Dorsett by Krisell’s daughter, Stuffy Hooten.
--Emma Kemper presented the Tony Rodgers Memorial Scholarship in honor of her grandfather to Courtney Winn.
--The Robert Thurman Memorial Scholarship was presented to Kyle Macomber.
--The Jesse Bush Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Drew List.
--The Jean McEntire Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kateland Holubar and McKenzie Metz-Holzman.
--The Phillip Weaver Memorial Scholarship was presented to Erica Patterson.
--The Charlie and Linda Weaver Scholarship went to Alexandria Skouras.
--The Giver of Life: Amanda Marie Allison Scholarship for $750 went to Rebecca Roffener.
--The Jason Aubrey Lee Scholarship was presented to Taylor Mushrush.
--The Bob Burks Scholarship was presented to Sarah Brantley
--The Tyler and Cameron Smith Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Ben Payne.
--The Jake Wooley Scholarship went to Blaine Norman.
--The Roberts Scholarship went to Shane Steward.
--The Arkansas Public Health Scholarship went to Andrea Pruitt.
--The Arkansas Career Technical School Scholarship was presented to Faith Burroughs.
--The Arkansas Activities Association State Farm Athletic Scholarship was awarded to Jedidiah Myers.
--The Basketball Foundation Scholarships went to Sarah Brantley and Ben Payne.
--The DECA-AAMET Professional Marketing Association Scholarship was presented to Casey Williams.
--Toad Suck scholarships were presented to Alexandria Hillman, Faith Burroughs and Jessica Borden.
--The UCA/Crow/White Education Scholarship went to Brandon Paladino.
--The Central Area of Arkansas Association Conservation Scholarship went to Clay McWilliams.
--The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarships went to Nathan Davis, Rachel Pruitt and Nicholas Scott.
Eighty nine students received Arkansas Lottery scholarships.
Military honors were also awarded including:
Casey Williams received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at a value of more than $400,000. It was said in four years, she will have the opportunity to lead other sailors or Marines.
Kyle Luck received a U.S. Navy scholarship valued at $180,000. It was said he will serve as a military policeman. Also, William Burgess received a U.S. Navy scholarship valued at $180,000 plus a $12,000 enlistment bonus in the nuclear engineering field.
Hunter Otts received a scholarship of $127,000 to serve with the U.S. Marines. In four years, he has the opportunity to graduate the academy as a second lieutenant.
Sewell announced the 54 honor graduates with an average ACT score of 27 and an average 8.8 GPA. Fourteen of the honor graduates have a 4.0 or higher on the four point grading scale, Sewell said. One score a 34 ACT with 36 being perfect, he added.
In conclusion, Sewell said there was about $4 million in scholarship money presented at the banquet.