A local middle school student has been named a finalist in the national essay contest for the National League of Junior Cotillions. Olivia Rapert, daughter of Senator Jason and Laurie Rapert, is a first year student in the NLJC Faulkner County Chapter. The National League of Junior Cotillions holds the annual "What Junior Cotillion Means to Me" Essay Contest with a grand prize of a $500 educational scholarship to the essay winner and also presents plaques and certificates to four finalists. Olivia was chosen as one of the four finalist across the nation with over 1,500 essays submitted.

"We are very proud to have such an outstanding young lady as one of our students," said Susan and Patrick Humphries, directors of the local chapter. "Olivia is a poised, intelligent, and diligent participant in our program. She is taking the skills taught in these classes and making them a part of her every day life."

According to Olivia’s essay she has enjoyed her Cotillion experience and "looks forward to using the skills that I have learned throughout my years. I think Cotillion is a great way to show kids all over the country how to present themselves to others with confidence."

"The skills that we teach these children promote respect, self-confidence, and strong self-esteem, enabling them to deal with the issues facing adolescents today. This encourages the social behavior and character necessary to gain the edge in future experiences, such as college entrance, business experiences, and other life opportunities," said Susan Humphries. "Olivia Rapert has taken the skills taught in this program and used them to develop character, to achieve personal goals, and to set high standards for personal behavior. She exemplifies the NLJC mission statement — learning to act and to treat others with honor, dignity, and respect."

The National League of Junior Cotillions is an etiquette and social dance training program that involves thousands of students nationwide. The local program is offered to any interested sixth to eighth grade boy or girl in the county. For more information, call Susan Humphries at susan.humphries@nljc.com, or visit the website at www.nljc.com/chapter/faulknercounty.