LITTLE ROCK Altrusa International of Hot Springs Village has been recognizing Garland County high school students for making, and maintaining, good grades for several years. This year marked the 13th annual 4.0 GPA Student Recognition and Scholarship Luncheon for these students.
This year, however, Altrusa sponsored two luncheons to accommodate the growing number of students “making the grade.”
“We are a victim of our own success,” said Valerie Derryberry, chairwoman of the event, which is held at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. “We invited students from Cutter Morning Star High School this year.”
The luncheon is for students who have achieved a 4.0 grade-point average in high school in the fall semester preceding the luncheon. Those who maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout high school each receive a $500 scholarship.
“The 4.0 luncheons began in 2006, and we have given $30,000 in scholarships over 10 years,”
Derryberry said. “The first three years, we did not have the scholarship.
“We were noticing that many students only came once,” she said. “We wanted to encourage them to not only get a 4.0 once but to maintain it; thus, the scholarship. I think we have hosted over 800 students over the years.”
Derryberry said Cutter Morning Star “knew about the program because the son of one of their teachers goes to Fountain Lake High School and has gone to the luncheon three times.
“Since they knew about the program, they were delighted when I contacted them,” she said. “The decision Altrusa had to make was — eliminate attendance for Fountain Lake High School because they had gotten so big or hold two separate luncheons. If we were going to do two luncheons, we could invite Cutter Morning Star and increase the number of students who got to attend. Obviously, we went with raising more money and having two luncheons.”
In addition to Cutter Morning Star and Fountain Lake high schools, students from Jessieville and Mountain Pine high schools attended the luncheons.
Nancy Luehring, Altrusa president, said the club holds various fundraisers for the luncheon. Money comes from private donations as well.
“Our ‘money angels’ worked really hard this year,” Luehring said, smiling. “The people in [Hot Springs Village] are so giving.”
Gov. Asa Hutchison addressed students from Cutter Morning Star, Jessieville and Mountain Pine, their parents and counselors attending the first luncheon on March 28. Maxwell Blade of Hot Springs was the guest speaker, entertaining the crowd with a magic show.
First lady Susan Hutchison addressed the audience gathered for the second luncheon on April 5, which honored students from Fountain Lake High School. Scott Inman, financial consultant and former news anchor at KATV-Channel 7, was the guest speaker.
Students recognized for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout high school are Madison Dixon, Cutter Morning Star High School; Johnathan Bates, Chloe Davis and Noah Eskew, all of Jessieville High School; Kelly Currington, Cora Hurst (who was unable to attend the luncheon) and Ali Meeks, all of Mountain Pine High School; and Jessa Goodeaux, Tylor Rea-Garibay and Lauren Terry, all of Fountain Lake High School.
• Dixon, the 17-year-old daughter of Jeffrey and Stephanie Dixon, plans to attend Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and study pre-biology as she works toward becoming an optometrist.
“This is really a nice event,” she said.
• Bates, the 17-year-old son of David and Shelley Bates, plans to attend Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and study wildlife biology and conservation.
“Coming here is a little out of my comfort zone, but it’s good to get out and … be recognized,” he said.
• Davis, the 18-year-old daughter of Robbie and Sandy
Davis, plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas Honors College in Conway but is undecided on her major.
“I am thinking education or psychology,” she said.
“It’s an honor to attend this luncheon,” she said. “I’ve come all four years. It’s a lot of fun.”
• Eskew, the 18-year-old son of Cory and Tami Eskew, plans to attend Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee and major in biochemistry.
“It’s really a cool opportunity to come to this luncheon and be recognized for our hard work,” he said. “This gives us a break.”
• Currington, the 17-year-old daughter of Lamar and Shannon Currington, plans to attend Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and major in English.
“I have come here all four years,” she said. “I am so impressed by it; it’s very special.”
• Meeks, the 17-year-old daughter of Vell Dean and Jesslyn Meeks, plans to attend Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and major in biology.
“This luncheon is really nice,” she said. “It’s really nice for Altrusa to support us this way. It gives us incentive to do well in school.”
• Goodeaux, the 18-year-old daughter of Robert and Sarah Goodeaux, plans to attend Mississippi State University in Starkville and study animal and dairy science.
“I look forward to this luncheon every year,” she said. “I make sure to make a 4.0 so I can attend.”
• Rea-Garibay, the 17-year-old son of Kandy Gould, plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and major in biology.
“This is a really cool event,” he said. “I like the food. It’s nice of them to do this for us.”
• Terry, the 18-year-old daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Terry, plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in psychology.
“I like coming here and being recognized for my achievements,” she said. “I am glad Altrusa does this. It’s nice to come together and celebrate. We are all trying to do our best.”
Other students from Cutter Morning Star High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2017 fall semester include ninth-graders Ava Lawson, McKenzie Shelton and Mikayla Turner; 10-graders Madison Bellomyh and Grace Slick; and 11th-grader Rhett Barrett.
Other students from Jessieville High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2017 fall semester include ninth-graders Evan Ang, Charlie Davis, Joshua McEarl, Taylor Miller, Kaylee Mitchell, Callie Pedersen, Jacob Sanders, Kelsey Saveall, Alysan Speers and Abigail Storment; 10th-graders Joseph Benson, Emma Hill, Natalie Johnson, Jacob Semmler and Jacob Theriot; 11th-graders Eirene Ang, Taylor Bassett, Madeline Bonilla, Sidney McCann, Chase Pedersen, Elizabeth Phillips, Grace Robertson, Jeffery Scott and Allison Storment; and 12th-graders Jax Belin, Kassondra Blocker, Ellie Green, Kaylee Irwin and Joshua Ray.
Other students from Mountain Pine High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2017 fall semester include ninth-graders Shalaya Delaney, Alina Hendrix, Kalariya McDaniel, Christian Sheridan, Alexis Tedford and Ray’von Turner; 10th-graders Matthew Hurst, Destini Nichols and Micah Travis; and 11th-graders Sean Jackson, Jamee Smith and Josh Walpole.
Other students from Fountain Lake High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2017 fall semester include ninth-graders Carena Bledsoe, Haley Evans, Joseph Florini, Aleksandr Johnson, Connor LaMontagne, Lizbeth Lopez, Alexis Oglivie, Gracie Peters, Sierra Peters, Mara Willis and Brooke Wyatt; and 10th-graders Ryan Avila, Sam Binns, Isabel Butler, Mollie Davis, Erin Graves, Savannah Iglehart, Sydney Mungle, Marcus Needles, Andrew Overton, Victoria Pike, Lance Tubberville, Emily B. Walker, Zoie Walker, Grace Westerman and Breann Williams.
Also from Fountain Lake are 11th-graders William Acord, Kaitlyn Bledsoe, Lanee Dixon, Margi Florini, Caitlyn Garner, Byron Louk, Taylor Mason, Victoria Mawhinney, Colson Simpson, Nayeli Vasquez and Dylan Wasson; and 12th-graders Stinson Burton, Olivia Cox, Noah Johnson, Haley Riggs, Zach Thomas, Cody Tigue, Stephen Turner and Ethan Westerman.