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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas first lady Susan Hutchinson, left, congratulated three Garland County high school seniors who each received a $500 scholarship from Altrusa International of Hot Springs Village, AR, Inc. during the 4.0 GPA Students Recognition and Scholarship Luncheon on March 29 at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. The students are Sidney McCann, second from left, and Grace Robertson, both from Jessieville High School, and Rhett Barrett of Cutter Morning Star High School.

LITTLE ROCK — More than 130 high school students “made the grade” last semester and were honored recently at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Altrusa International of Hot Springs Village, AR, Inc. recognized Garland County students for making a 4.0 grade-point average.

This year marked the 14th annual 4.0 GPA Student Recognition and Scholarship Luncheon hosted by the Hot Springs Village Altrusa club. This year also marked the second year Altrusa sponsored two luncheons to accommodate the large numbers of students who have achieved a 4.0 GPA in high school in the fall semester preceding the luncheon. Those who maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout high school receive a $500 scholarship each; seven seniors received scholarships this year.

“This is our yearly celebration of you and your achievements,” said Nancy Luehring, Hot Springs Village Altrusa president, as she welcomed those attending the first luncheon on March 29. “We are so proud of your efforts and the hard work you have displayed in your academic life. This will allow you to go far as you work to achieve your personal dreams.”

Valerie Derryberry, chairwoman of the annual event, said the service club plans to continue sponsoring the event in the foreseeable future.

“All of the schools are so appreciative of this event,” she said. “The number of students that we honor has grown over the years. Altrusa is very proud because this reflects an awareness of the event on the part of the students, who then make the extra effort to earn a 4.0 GPA in succeeding years so they can qualify for the event.”

First lady Susan Hutchinson addressed students from Cutter Morning Star, Jessieville and Mountain Pine high schools, their parents and counselors who attended the March 29 luncheon. Kevin Kelly, Fox 16 news anchor, was the guest speaker and talked about his anti-bullying platform; he also encouraged students to find their “why” … their “purpose in life,” and never give up on it.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson welcomed the audience that was gathered for the second luncheon on April 3, which recognized students from Fountain Lake High School. Retired NFL referee Walt Coleman gave the students a “pep” talk, sharing his experiences as a referee as he encouraged them to persevere through the “negative stuff” in life by remembering, “You are important and can make a difference.”

“Remember how important you are,” he said. “You have the opportunity to do and be whatever you want to be.”

Seniors recognized for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and receiving scholarships are Rhett Barrett, Cutter Morning Star High School; Sidney McCann and Grace Robertson, both of Jessieville High School; and William Acord, Kaitlyn Bledsoe, Lanee Dixon and Byron Louk, all of Fountain Lake High School. Mountain Pine High School had no qualifying seniors this year.

• Barrett, the 17-year-old son of Shane and Tara Barrett, plans to attend Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and major in accounting.

“This is really a neat event,” Barrett said. “It’s really nice.”

• McCann, the 18-year-old daughter of Amy McCann and David McCann, plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as a pre-pharmacy major.

“This is a real highlight of my year,” McCann said of the 4.0 GPA luncheon. “I look forward to it every year.”

• Robertson, the 18-year-old daughter of Chris and Holly Robertson, has been accepted to the University of Central Arkansas Honors College in Conway, where she plans to major in biology. She eventually hopes to attend medical school.

“This luncheon is absolutely perfect,” she said. “It is a great opportunity to be rewarded. It has been one of the biggest motivations for kids to keep up their grades. Altrusa is so nice to do this every year.”

• Acord, the 17-year-old son of Greg and Camille Acord, plans to attend Henderson State University as a business major.

“It’s awesome,” he said of the 4.0 GPA luncheon. “It’s nice to come here to this very beautiful place.”

• Bledsoe, the 17-year-old daughter of Bobby and Catherine Bledsoe, plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and major in hospitality and tourism.

“This luncheon is amazing,” she said. “Knowing about it has made me want to do better each year.”

• Dixon, the 17-year-old daughter of Jon and Jana Dixon, plans to attend UCA and major in art education.

“I’ve really enjoyed coming to these luncheons every year,” she said. “It’s been an incentive to study harder.”

• Louk, the 17-year-old son of Chad and Jennifer Louk, plans to attend Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and major in math.

“It’s always been a highlight of my year to come here and be with my family and have a nice time,” he said.

Other students from Cutter Morning Star High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2018 fall semester include ninth-graders Maraelynn Nuckolls, Ace Schermerhorn and Ethan Stevens; 10th-graders Jordan Foshee, James Gill, Brecken Knott-Debord, Mackenzie Shelton, Mariah Turner and Mikayla Turner; and 11th-grader Grace Slick.

Other students from Jessieville Star High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2018 fall semester include ninth-graders Harli Bassett, Kallie Castleberry, Ben Combs, Rebekah George, Nina Lane, William Ramsey, Annabel Robertson, Samantha Robertson, Alia Savall, Alyssa Stultz, Lawson Wideman and Audra Wilson; 10th-graders Evan Ang, Madison Cummings, Charlie Davis, Joshua McEarl, Taylor Miller, Kaylee Mitchell, Derek Oseguera, Callie Pedersen, Laura Rivera, Jacob Sanders, Kelsey Saveall, Alysan Speers and Abigail Storment; 11th-graders Taryn Anderson, Joey Benson, Taylor Cate, Faith Dexter, Natalie Johnson, Elleigh Lowery, Alexis Rose, Jacob Semmler and Jacob Theriot; and 12th-graders Eirene Ang, Taylor Bassett, Madeline Bonilla, Hannah Owens, Hannah Rositas, Jeffery Scott, Larry Selig and Allison Storment.

Other students from Mountain Pine High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2018 fall semester include ninth-graders Bayley Brown, Kristian Downie, Lilah Hurst and Morgan Stout; 10th-graders Shalayla Delaney, Jessica Gobel, Alina Hendrix, Lakyn Lewondowski, Christian Sheridan and Alexis Tedford; 11th-graders Anastacia Glasco, Matthew Hurst, Ara Naples, Destini Nichols and Collin Smith; and 12th-graders Sean Jackson, Elizabeth Phillips, Jamee Smith and Josh Walpole.

Other students from Fountain Lake High School who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the 2018 fall semester include ninth-graders Marie Coriaty, Renee Costello, Hailey Crowder, Starla Hensley, Bailey Knappier, Michael Moore, Kyra Nobles, Nathan Robinson, Pauline Rocha and Sophie Skinner; and 10th-graders Kristen Baker, Carena Bledsoe, Jordan Bolt, Bryce Brownlee, Haley Evans, Joseph Florini, Aleksandr Johnson, Connor LaMontagne, Lachlan McMurray, Avery Neal, Gracie Peters and Mara Willis.

Also recognized were 11th-graders Isabel Butler, Mollie Davis, Chris Desfassiaux, Cole Echols, Erin Graves, Katherine Hughes, Savannah Iglehart, Serenity Lopez, Sydney Mungle, Marcus Needles, Victoria Pike, Jake Turner, Grace Westerman and Madison Wood; and 12th-graders Hannah Blankenship, Zakary Butler, Cherokee Fields, Kyle Fortner, Caitlin Garner, Courtney Helton, Macy Hilt, Destinee Hogeland, Kaitlyn Hope, Hayden Hoya, Emily Hughes, Andrew Johnson, Taylor Mason, Victoria MaWhinney, Jordan Mungle, Joseph Murphy, Caroline Pope, Noah Pratt, Andrew Roberson, Hilda-Marie Roberts, Carson Tillery, Nayeli Vasquez, Ramiro Vasquez, Sarah Walker and Dylan Wasson.

For more information on Altrusa, visit the website www.hsv-altrusa.org.

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