Scholarships amounting to about $3.3 million have been awarded to the 213 students in the 2015 graduating class of Vilonia High School, said Andy Ashley high school principal, during an honors ceremony held Thursday.
"Pretty impressive," he said. The emcee for the event, Ashley introduced the college and university representatives as well as the individuals who were awarding the scholarships. The amounts varied from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The University of Central Arkansas awarded the most scholarships at one time with 25 names being called.
Although the bleachers were full for the event, a noticeable number of students weren’t on hand. Ashley explained that three state sports tournaments were underway including softball, baseball and boys’ soccer.
Private scholarships included the Textbook Brokers were awarded. Recipients included Aubrey Viereck, $100; Fraternal Order of Police to Sidney Kelley; Terry Wright Memorial Scholarship to Garett Luedke, $1,000; Bobby Kennedy Construction Scholarship to Ann-Marie Arnett, $500; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Rachel Hinson, $1,000; Arkansas Amateur Softball Association, Rachel Hinson, $300; Faulkner County Cattleman’s Association, Libby Holbrook; NUCOR Foundation, Brittany McBroome, $3,200; Toad Suck Scholarships, Reagan Goode, $3,000 and Kaydra Francis, $3,000.
Local scholarships included Bush Memorial Scholarship, Shay Lynn Walker; Jean McEntire Memorial Scholarship, Ashlynn Boyd; Lowell Turner Memorial Scholarship, Tyler Hawks; Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce Scholarships, Corie Gunter $500 and the Miss Vilonia Scholarship, Skyler Wolfe, $250; Robert Thurman Memorial Scholarship, Baylee Milam, $500; Phillip Weaver Memorial Scholarship, Caitlyn Hill, $1,000; Charlie and Linda Weaver Scholarship, Ashley Lyons, $1,000; Jason Aubrey Lee Scholarship, Mollie Walker, $1,000; Giver of Life Scholarship, Libby Holbrook; Paul Krisell Memorial Scholarship, Micah Allen; Tony Rodgers Memorial Scholarship, Corie Gunter; Tyler and Cameron Smith Memorial Scholarship, Corie Gunter; Jake Wooley Memorial Scholarship, Thomas Gifford; DECCA Scholarship, Kelsea Thrower.
The Governor’s Distinguished Scholar Award went to three students, Brick Cullum, Daniel McKnight and Zack Rail. The award is up to $10,000 per year and may be renewed for up to three years. For this honor, the student must have an ACT composite score of 32 or an SAT score of 1410 in math and critical reading as well as a 3.5 grade point average in academic courses.
Or, the student must achieve finalist status in either the National Merit Scholarship Program or National Achievement Scholarship Program, Ashley said, while introducing the students.
There are 47 students that will graduate with honors, Ashley said. The 47 students have an average ACT score of 27. Eleven of the honor graduates, Ashley said, have a 4.0 or higher on the 4.0 grading scale. He listed the following: Rachel Allmon, Taylor Anderson, Ann-Marie Arnett, Leighann Bonnema, Jenna Bracas, Ean Brown, Garrett Brown, Laney Burnett, Catherine Clark, Brick Cullum, Olivia Davidson, Natalie DeVorak, Parker Eldridge, Bailey Evans, Kaleb Ferren, Kaydra Francis, Kaitlyn Frazier, Emma French, Tyler Gasaway, Grayson Glenn, Reagan Goode, Arlen Greeley, Matthew Grinder, Rachel Hinson, Libby Holbrook, Chastity Isom, Jennifer Jackson, Kacy Johnson, Sidney Kelley, Madison Loyd, Ashley Lyons, Emily Mathis, Malynne McKay, Daniel McKnight Jr., Jeremy McMartin, Whitney Noel, Joshua Owen, Layne Pittman, Zachary Rail, Tanner Rose, Brennen Smith, Kylie Teague, Kelly Teer, Dylan Ware, Molly Williams, Skylar Wolfe and Chelsea Wright.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was presented to Casey Williams. The Conway Optimist Teen Award went to Kelly Teer and Hayden Weaver. Reagan Goode and Grayson Glenn were named as the Vilonia High School Citizens of the Year.
In closing, Ashley addressed the parents and asked them to stand. "This did not happen by accident," he said. "I thank you for your dedication to your child and their success."