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Cecile Bowen

Providence Classical Christian Academy

College plans: Major in math at Ouachita Baptist University GPA: 4.3 ACT score: 33 Activities: Student Council (ninth-12th grade); yearbook staff (11th and 12th grade); New Life Ranch; Camp Barnabas volunteer; National Honor Society (10th-12th grade) Top honors: Johannes Kepler Award (2014); top 25 at the 2014 geometry Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics exam; second place at Providence’s speech meet in poetry (2016) Quote: “I don’t study for hours and hours just to show off my grades to someone else; it is for my own personal satisfaction. You see, I’m not content unless I’m striving to be the best I possibly can. This takes discipline and determination. Reaching goals is not always easy and oftentimes can mean sacrificing for a better cause.” Reason for nomination: “Cecile Bowen is truly a special student,” Assistant Headmaster David Smith said. “In addition to her outstanding performance in Latin and in AP and college-level classes in math, English, science and history, she has over 400 hours of documented community service hours.”

Billy “Zeke” Laird

Prairie Grove High School

College plans: West Point Academy GPA: 4.3 ACT score: 33 Activities: Varsity football, basketball and soccer; Flood Janitorial employee; National Honor Society vice president; Center Street Church of Christ youth group, service projects, youth teacher and worship leader; Peewee sports volunteer Top honors: AP Scholar with distinction; All-State football and Prairie Grove Offensive Player of the Year (2016); All-Conference football and Prairie Grove Leadership Award (2015); DECA State Career Development Conference competition finalist (2016 and 2017); Prairie Grove High School 4.0 and above award (2014, 2015 and 2016) Quote: “There are times when I am forced to do homework on the bus to away games or study for an upcoming test when I get homes after games. Sacrificing sleep or spending time with friends is something I must do in order to maintain a high academic level. I have never let all of the different activities I participate in interfere with how I perform in the classroom.” Reason for nomination: “He is beyond busy, yet he maintains excellence in the classroom,” said Counselor Mandy Hunt. “He has taken just about every AP class we offer, and he keeps A’s in them. He is No. 1 in his class because of his dedication and motivation. I think it would be a different story if all he did was study, but frankly, I don’t know how he finds the time and energy to be so good at everything he does.”

Shreya Majagi

Rogers High School

College plans: Attend a six-year bachelor’s and doctor of medicine program at the University of Missouri — Kansas City School of Medicine GPA: 4.36 ACT score: 34 Activities: National Honor Society president; Regions Student Bank Board president; four-year varsity tennis player; first-chair saxophone Top honors: One of two students from Arkansas selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program (2017); six-week Arkansas Governor’s School program (2016); University of Central Arkansas Model United Nations outstanding honorable delegate (2015-16); first place and national qualifier in business ethics with Future Business Leaders of America (2017); Chamber of Commerce award and AP Scholar with distinction (four years) Quote: “Ultimately, education has given me the biggest gift of all: the gift to think. This gift has allowed me to think outside of the box and challenge the status quo. Because of the education I was given, I was able to create. I have created food drives and started new clubs in my community.” Reason for nomination: “Shreya’s work ethic is so strong and such a part of her that I sometimes take it for granted,” said Counselor Kathleen Riggs. “She is able to pull top grades in a very demanding schedule while playing varsity tennis. Shreya can push for perfection on an essay while at the same time be able to laugh at her obsession to get the top score.”

Mary Emma Hignite

Springdale High School

College plans: Major in creative writing and history at Bryn Mawr College GPA: 4.26 ACT score: 35 SAT score: 1500 Activities: A Capella Choir; band; Unity, a select choir; tutoring and administrative work for Springdale High School night school; volunteer for Springdale High School Law Academy Top honors: AP Scholar with distinction (2016); National Merit Finalist (2017); National Honor Society member (2015-17) Quote: “I wrote my first short story in third grade and started my first book in sixth … I’ve just kept going from there, with several short stories and about six books, ranging from 50,000 to 106,000 words long. Writing has given me an avenue of exploration to learn more about myself and the outside world … It’s the only thing I can’t imagine not doing in my life.” Reason for nomination: “Mary Emma is ready to take the next step in her academic career and is more than ready to tackle the rigorous academic demands at the collegiate level,” said Counselor Nick Ridenoure. “She will push herself academically while devoting her time, good nature and never-ceasing work ethic to the community.”

Everett Watson

Pea Ridge High School

College plans: Major in chemistry at Drury University GPA: 4.19 ACT: 34 Activities: Assistant teacher for sixth-grade science class; marching band drum major; volunteer for Eagle Scout projects; volunteer worker and builder for children’s playground and maintenance at Military Park; jazz performances at elderly homes and community institutions Top honors: AP Scholar with distinction (2016-17); drum major for marching band (2016-17); National Honor Society (2015-17); All-Region band (2015-17); Quiz Bowl team captain (2017) Quote: “A flickering light finally turned on, the desperate fluttering of function transformed into full constant light; the discovery of purpose. The vessel, which was once lacking and dimmed, turned into a spectacle of purpose and efficiency by the catalyst of man. Thus, in the way a light bulb is turned on by a guiding and benevolent hand, the human mind is activated by the guiding and benevolent light of education. This described how my teachers and instructors gave me purpose and created a spark in my mind, that of creativity, innovation and curiosity.” Reason for nomination: “Everett Watson has displayed consistent academic excellence,” Principal Charley Clark said. “He is obviously very talented, but does not take his talent for granted. He works hard both in and out of the classroom. Everett has also grown into a leadership role this year. I know countless students look up to him and hold him in high regard.”

Ryan Kim

Fayetteville High School

College plans: Major in bioengineering at Harvard University GPA: 4.45 ACT score: 36 SAT score: 2340 Activities: National Honor Society president (2016-17); University of Arkansas research intern in bio and nanotechnology (2013-16); Fayetteville Public Library volunteer (2011-17); Quiz Bowl team captain (2013-17); Fayetteville High School literary magazine (2015-17) Top honors: U.S. Presidential Scholar; MIT Research Science Institute (summer 2016); National Merit Finalist (2017); representing Arkansas in National Science Bowl as a captain (2016 and 2017) Quote: “When I entered pre-AP biology in ninth grade, I had no idea what I was walking into. But as I listened to my teacher explain [Francis] Crick’s central dogma of biology — ‘DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes protein’ — and as my mind began to understand the implications of this biological ‘interconnectedness,’ I knew science was my passion.” Reason for nomination: “Ryan Kim will do great things in the world,” Counselor Dawn Norman said. “He is brilliant, polite, considerate of others, creative and genuinely wants to leave a positive mark on the world. He has been an outstanding student at FHS, and I look forward to his accomplishments.”

Connor Broyles

Siloam Springs High School

College plans: Major in communications at Northwestern University GPA: 4.07 ACT score: 34 Activities: Boys & Girls Club volunteer coach; Monday Show school television program; Northside Elementary School kindergarten mentor; National Honor Society (two years); and church youth leadership team Top honors: Arkansas Scholar (2014-17); Veterans of Foreign Wars Essay state contest second place (2017); High Honor graduate and ranked No. 1; Future Business Leaders of America speaking competition winner (2017); All-Conference football (2016) Quote: “My parents and teachers are two of the biggest reasons that I push myself in the classroom. They have poured so much time and energy into me over the years, making sure I was more than ready for the ‘next level’ and ultimately preparing me for college, that the only way I can possibly begin to pay them back is refusing to let their efforts go to waste.” Reason for nomination: “Connor makes significant contributions in and out of the academic setting,” Counselor Debra Mattingly said. “He has sought the counsel and encouragement of his family and teachers through his entire education. Because of his willingness to accept guidance and his own desire to improve, he uses his time and gifts to improve and serve those around him.”

Moushumi Sahu

Bentonville High School

College plans: Major in economics at Rice University GPA: 4.43 ACT score: 35 Activities: Percussionist in Bentonville bands; tutor for student-created tutoring program Aspire Hire; Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society president; state champion with Academic Competition in Education team; Mercy Hospital volunteer Top honors: National Merit Finalist (2017); U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee (2017); National AP Scholar (2016); All-Region band member (2014, 2016 and 2017); engineering summer research internship at Missouri University of Science and Technology (2016) Quote: “The most meaningful lesson that being in band taught me was the importance of hard work. Whether it was staying after school for hours on end to learn my notes or playing an extra run of the music, I learned that nothing is unattainable without passion and perseverance. These are lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life as I pursue my goals.” Reason for nomination: “Moushumi is the definition of an academic all-star,” said Alice Haney, Bentonville High School post-secondary adviser. “She has taken the most rigorous coursework available and achieved at the highest level. She is ranked at the top of her highly competitive class of nearly 1,000 students … She is a musician, a scholar, a researcher and a future economist. I have every reason to believe that Moushumi will continue her success in college.”

Bryson Horn

Haas Hall Academy

College plans: Major in electrical engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy GPA: 4.22 ACT score: 32 Activities: Internship at Henkel Adhesive Technologies in Winsford, England; Civil Air Patrol in the 115th Composite squadron; Teen Leadership Experience of Fayetteville; Keeping Hope Alive; Haas Hall Ambassador for Scholar Advancement Top honors: Appointments to U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Merchant Marine Academy (2017); Arkansas All-State swimming (2015, 2016 and 2017); Academic Excellence award (2015); varsity letters for swimming (2015, 2016 and 2017) and cross country (2016) Quote: “Although determination, hard work and responsibility play important roles in my life, integrity, camaraderie and espirit de corps are equally important. My success has not been created with a ‘look what I accomplished’ attitude. Instead, I lead with humility and a desire for everyone around me to achieve the same goals.” Reason for nomination: “Bryson is an exemplary scholar, leader, celebrated scholar-athlete and responsible community service advocate,” said Martin Schoppmeyer, superintendent of Haas Hall Academy. “Bryson continues to choose the challenging route by thriving in an accelerated academic institution focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics … Bryson’s work is timely, accurate and meticulous.”

Harper Whaley

Shiloh Christian School

College plans: World Race Gap Year for 2017-18. Attending Samford University in fall 2018 GPA: 4.31 ACT score: 32 Activities: Fellowship Bible Church elementary leader (four years), service and leadership team officer, summer intern; National Honor Society officer; varsity cheer and soccer Top honors: National Honor Society (grades 10-12); National Spanish Exam honors (10th grade); All-State soccer player (grades 10-11); All-State cross country (grades 9-10); All-Conference basketball (11th grade) Quote: “It is important for me to invest in the lives of younger children and to remind them they are loved and have value. My desire to serve all over the world will become a reality next year as I embark on a nine-month mission trip to Colombia, Ecuador, Cambodia, Thailand and Albania.” Reason for nomination: “Harper has the highest GPA in her class,” College and Career Counselor Debbie Diehm said. She is among a group of students who take their first AP class in 10th grade and college classes in four subjects. “Harper will graduate with 46 hours of college credit, not counting the AP courses she has taken. She has done all this while excelling in sports.”

Print Headline: ACADEMIC ALL-STARS

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