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— Area leaders and high school graduates will be honored at the Rotary Club of Batesville banquet June 25 at Josie’s Steakhouse.

Amanda Dickey, Rotary Club secretary, said the club was formed in 1940 and that the Rotary year runs from July 1 through June 30.

“We’ve always had some sort of an officer transition from the old board to the new board,” Dickey said. “About four years ago, instead of having [the transition] at our regular Monday meeting, we decided to have a party-banquet-type thing instead.”

Dickey said the club has always given out scholarships to graduating seniors in the community.

“In the past, we just had them come to the meeting with their parents,” she said. “Noon on Mondays is a hard time for a lot of people to get away. When we started the banquet, we decided to invite them to that, where they can dress up, and it’s more than a 30-minute lunch meeting.”

Dickey served as president for the 2015-16 Rotary year.

“We started the community awards that year,” she said. “This is our third year doing the awards.”

The five categories and recipients are:

• Making a Difference Community Service Award: George Latus.

Latus is an organizer for the annual Boy Scouts of America White River Canoe Race.

“He has a great love for the Boy Scouts and canoeing and is a great leader in our community,” Dickey said of Latus.

• Health Care Worker of the Year Award: Ranotta Marlow, who is a nurse at Woodlawn Heights Nursing Center in Batesville.

• Outstanding Community Service Award: Mary Beth Frensley

Frensley is a retired registered nurse and is a volunteer for the Independence County Library, which is building a new facility in Batesville.

“She has served on many different foundations and boards,” Dickey said.

• Teacher of the Year: Amber Barnett.

Barnett is an English teacher at Batesville High School. She was nominated by one of her students.

“She’s always willing to help any of her students,” the nomination states.

• Role Model of the Year: Cord Davidson, who is a school resource officer for the Batesville School District and a deputy for the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is something for which we felt people in the community needed to be recognized,” Dickey said, adding that the Rotary Club solicits nominations for the various awards through social media and local newspapers.

“We’ll do a write-up and get it out to the community because we really want the community to be the ones who nominate people,” she said. “The Rotarians are free to nominate, but it’s so much better when we get nominations from the community.”

Dickey said the club takes nominations for about two months before a committee takes the nominations and decides who will receive the awards.

“That’s what we did last week,” Dickey said.

The Rotary Club of Batesville awards $500 scholarships to graduating seniors. This year’s winners are as follows:

• Batesville High School: Mallory McClure.

• Cave City High School: Bradyn Snow.

• Cedar Ridge High School: Chase Shonk.

• Home-schooled: Sonni Guth.

• Midland High School: Morgan Combs.

• Southside High School: Madison Hewitt.

Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or mbuffalo@arkansasonline.com.

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