School news: Preserve Our Past winners announced

Congressional Art

Sarah Bilby, a senior at Siloam Springs High School senior, earned first place in this year's Congressional Art Competition for the Third District, according to a news release from Congressman Steve Womack's office.

Competition awards were presented April 28 at a reception in Springdale.

Bilby's oil painting, titled "No Longer Mundane," will be sent to Washington, D.C., and displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, according to the release. The painting depicts Bilby's mom cooking, a task she loves but is now difficult due to her recent diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.

"No Longer Mundane," is Bilby's first oil painting. She said her whole portfolio is about her mom's disease and she hopes her painting raises awareness about Parkinson's and inspires people to be more sensitive.

"Cooking is a big part of our family and it's something that doesn't come as easy as it used to," she said. "I wanted to create a piece that shows (my mom) is still trying to be strong at doing it, but it's not as easy as it used to be, no longer mundane."

Her mom saw the painting for the first time at the awards ceremony, which was an emotional moment, Bilby said.

Bilby plans to major in education and minor in Spanish at John Brown University.

Others who placed in the competition included:

• Second place: Elizabeth Miller, Don Tyson School of Innovation, "COVID Time Dilation"

• Third place: Ellie Benson, Har-Ber High School, "Raspberry Lemonade"

• Fourth place: Celeste Arellano, Har-Ber High School, "Current Events"

• Fifth place: Dakota Regan Reed, Prairie Grove High School, "10 of Swords"

• Patriot Award: Devin Meunch, Haas Hall Academy Bentonville, "Friends Over Politics."

• People's Choice Award: Abigail Haak, Siloam Springs High School, "Controlled."

This year's competition featured 32 pieces of art from several different high schools throughout Arkansas's Third Congressional District. Entries were reviewed by a panel of local judges, including Larissa Randall (curatorial assistant, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art), Amber Perrodin (artist and community manager, 214), and Kerbie Lansford (owner, The Frame Shoppe), according to the release.


Preserve Our Past

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has announced the winners of its 2021 Preserve Our Past Art and Essay Invitational. Since 1991, students in grades five through eight have submitted works about local and state history or historic sites.

Student artwork and essays will be displayed from May 14 until mid-July at Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third St., Little Rock and will be a featured attraction in Historic Arkansas's 2nd Friday Art Night on May 14.

Art 5th/6th Grade

1st Place – Yana Pandit, Forest Park Elementary (Pulaski County)

2nd Place – Elise Freifeld, Pulaski Academy Middle School (Pulaski County)

3rd Place – Emilee Cross, Cave City Elementary (Sharp County)

3rd Place – Danielle James, West Side Elementary (Cleburne County)

Honorable Mention – Zainab Raja, Pulaski Academy Middle School (Pulaski County)

Essay 5th/6th Grade

1st Place – Taliah Pigo, Old High Middle School (Benton County)

2nd Place – Leon Frisard, Prairie Grove Middle School (Washington County)

3rd Place – Esther Hale / Prairie Grove Middle School (Washington County)

Art 7th/8th Grade

1st Place – Mason Simmons, Cave City Middle School (Sharp County)

2nd Place – Jeremy Stephenson, Greenbrier Middle School (Faulkner County)

2nd Place – Zechariah E. Haynes, ScholarMade Achievement Place (Pulaski County)

3rd Place – Jordan Brown, Riverview Jr. High (White County)

Honorable Mention – Joslyn Brown, Mansfield Middle School (Scott and Sebastian Counties)

Essay 7th/8th Grade

1st Place – Matthias Gwinn, Homeschooled

2nd Place – Caitlin Fountain, Izard County School District (Izard County)

3rd Place – Kanon Fisher, Mansfield Middle School (Scott and Sebastian Counties)

Information: Email, or visit the website at

The Citadel

Jonathan Petrovich of Centerton is one of the more than 650 cadets and students recognized for their academic achievements during the fall 2020 semester.

Gold stars are awarded to cadets and students at The Citadel who achieved a 3.7 grade point average or higher. Cadets and students who achieve gold star recognition are also placed on The Citadel's Dean's List.

The Citadel, with its iconic campus located in Charleston, S.C., offers a classic military college education for young men and women focused on leadership excellence and academic distinction. The approximately 2,400 members of the S.C. Corps of Cadets are not required to serve in the military, but about one-third of each class earn commissions to become officers in every branch of U.S. military service.

Central College

Alec Patterson of Alpena was one of more than 800 students at Central College who would have been honored at the college's annual Scholarship Celebration on April 22. The event was canceled because of the covid-19 pandemic, but Patterson received the James A. and Beatrice H. Hoekstra Family Scholarship, Francis C. & Jeannette Huyser Endowed Scholarship and Journey Scholarship.

Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, four-year liberal arts college. Central is known for its academic rigor, leadership and character development, global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and sustainability education, athletics and service.

Phi Kappa Phi

Two local students, Blake Bulger of Fort Smith at Oklahoma City University and Mo Shamseldin of Fayetteville at Idaho State University, recently were initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

They are among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, who had a desire to create a different kind of honor society: one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines.


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law announced students who received the Top Paper awards during 2020.

The award recognizes the highest class grade for classes taken during the spring, summer and fall semesters in 2020.

Local Bowen students who received the Top Paper Award include:

Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay of Bella Vista, AR, Real Property I, Fall 2020

Lara Sargent of Harrison, AR, Law & Religion Seminar, Fall 2020

With about 10,000 students and 100 programs, UA Little Rock offers learning, research, service, social and career opportunities in the state capital.

Earth Day Scholarship

Jackson Guthrie of Rogers is one of 10 students who were recently awarded the NSHSS Foundation Earth Day Scholarship by the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation. This scholarship recognizes students who are passionate about the environment and who have helped to either raise awareness or actively protect the earth through projects or activities in their schools and communities.

The foundation of Jackson's community organization, E-Waste Warriors, was built from his mission to properly dispose of e-waste through community collection events by increasing the proper recycling of Electronic Waste in the Northwest Arkansas region. He strives to achieve this by allowing people to conveniently and properly dispose of their electronics while preventing unwanted environmental impacts.

The organization's first event was a planned drive-through that provided a convenient way for community members to safely dispose of old or unwanted electronics. Jackson secured a business sponsor, eSCO Processing and Recycling, which provided a 30-foot truck for collecting waste and agreed to take anything they were given to be recycled or refurbished, also ensuring the protection of user data until the devices were erased or destroyed. With one successful event on record, Jackson is looking to host a second one at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

The NSHSS Foundation fosters the growth of graduates enrolled in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), business, economics, public policy, and environmental science and sustainability fields. Through special programs, including the NSHSS Honor Society, the NSHSS Foundation connects young scholars with additional opportunities to advance their education, personal growth, and career interests. For more information, visit

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