Tops Every Year: Six-year Rotary Scholars aimed high

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo High School senior Dorie Stewart said she and her classmates are very competitive academically.
That made Monday’s honor more meaningful when she and seven other seniors were named “Six-Year Rotary Scholars” during the Rotary Club of Tupelo’s weekly meeting at The Summit Center. The honor notes they were among the top 30 students in their class every year, beginning in seventh grade.
“We’re always checking our rankings,” she said. “I was really relieved (when I found out). I said I can take a breath now and not worry any more.”
That competitiveness also has made them close, she said, and the group was quick to tease each other when discussing their accomplishment.
“You are setting yourself on a path of excellence,” said Six-Year Scholar Ben Matthews when asked to give advice to younger students wanting to follow in their footsteps. “Go forward with all you have.”
Added Stewart: “Did you look that up on the Internet?”
“That sounds like Emerson,” added fellow Scholar Ben Logan, referring to famed poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Since the early 1980s, the Rotary Club of Tupelo has annually honored the top 30 Tupelo students, plus ties, in seventh to 12th grade. Those seniors who have received the honor every year are given special distinction as Six-Year Scholars.
Joining Dorie, Ben Matthews and Ben Logan this year were Kenya Ashby, Brigid McCool, Kayla Nguyen, Ashley Williams and Hunter York, who was not at the event because of a previously scheduled visit to Harvard, delayed by last week’s events in Boston.
“When you are trying to juggle extra-curricular activities, jobs, church and school work, this honor shows you can keep up with good grades and be involved with the community,” Kenya said.
This year’s 205 honorees were chosen slightly differently than in past years. Middle school students were given extra weight for pre-advanced placement or accelerated classes, as has been the case for the last two years.
However, because of Tupelo High School’s new block schedule, THS students who made the top 30 without the extra weight for AP and Pre-AP courses were honored as were those who made it with the extra weight given. As a result, 42 juniors and 41 seniors were named scholars.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com

Rotary Scholars list
On Monday, 205 students from Tupelo Middle School and Tupelo High School were named Rotary Scholars. Tupelo’s Rotary Club honored the top 30 students plus ties in grades seven to 12 based upon grade-point average, with extra weight given for middle school students in pre-advanced placement and accelerated courses. Because of Tupelo High School’s new block schedule, students who made the top 30 both with and without the added weight were chosen, which is why those grades have more than 30 scholars.

SEVENTH GRADE
Harrison Broadaway, Anna Calhoun, Matthew Cary, Maggie Cayson, Abigale Chandler, Niland Fortenberry, Anna Goggans, Abigail Grant, Katlyn Grimes, Abbey Hastings, Margaret Hill, Jewel Jolly, Savannah Kirksey, Aaron Kwag, Bryan Kwag, Avery Littleton, Landon Long, Ryan Malone, Anna McCoy, Elizabeth Meredith, Skyler Michael, Mary Catherine Miller, Olivia Scott, Henry Seiler, Lauren Taylor, Alyssa Ware, Emily Waters, Erian Watkins, Katelyn Williams and Samuel Williams.

EIGHTH GRADE
Lauren Bertelsen, William Bradford, William Brawner, Maura Chiles, Katie Darnell, Abbey Edmonson, Randle Haggerty, William Hester, Cameron Hunt, Noah Hunt, Jacey Jenkins, Charles Johnson, Celine Mahmoud, John Matthews, Georgia McGee, Cooper Moore, Jacob Overton, Achintya Prasad, Lexi Pund, Avery Ray, Molly Ray, Thomas Riddle, Amber Scott, Tanner Scoville, Carlyle Smith, Edie Thomas, Maren Thorderson, Ross Weeden, Lauren Wilson and McKenzie Young.

FRESHMEN
Treyce Bannerman, Jenny Bobo, Rachel Bobo, Kai Brieck, Emma Counce, Leah Davis, Alex Drumm, Taylor Fikes, Walker Fortenberry, Avery Gibens, Avery Goggans, James Grant, Madeline Harrison, Will Herrington, Katherine Holliman, Sarah Holliman, Chase Huddleston, Mary Hudson, Mary King, Katerina Kushla, Logan Long, Garner Nance, Amelia Pongetti, Hanna Price, Emma Rice, Jamie Smith, Ann Douglas Stone, Kathryn Taylor, Caroline Thompson, Bailie White and Lexie Yancey.

SOPHOMORES
Eliza Barrow, Mollie Ann Bradford, Neely Brown, Haley Cook, Christina Daniels, McKenzie Denton, Sarah Ewing, Bethany Fitts, Katy Franks, Isabella Hester, Rachel Hicks, Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth, Bryce Hunt, Mallie Imbler, Kimya Jamasbi, Gurshan Kaur, Warner King, Haithem Mahmoud, Rachael Malone, Delaney Clare Norton, McKinney Pitts, Macy Replogle, Austin Richey, Morgan Southworth, Katlyn Taylor, Nolan Vora, Jennifer Ware, Megan Ware, Meri Hollis West, Emily Wright and Alexis Zosel.

JUNIORS
Katariina Astala, Caitlin Bailey, Anna Ballard, Abby Banko, Reid Barber, Joy Blackmon, Caroline Brown, Emily Carter, Alex Cayson, Carley Cole, Chandler Craig, Betsy Crosswhite, Peyton Curtis, Maggie Davis, Kyler Emig, Diego Fleitas, Sumner Fortenberry, Hailey Grisham, Brian Haadsma, Hannah Harrison, Nattanid Kittisorayut, Anna Grace Lawrence, Jack Heston Lollar, Riley Macklin, Breana McDonald, Michael Ryan Murphy, Kelley Nabors, Anastasiia Nikiforova, Isaac Palmer, Megan Pirkle, Shelby Price, McKenzie Smith, James Stone, Christian Bryant Thomas, Maggie Thomas, Robert Thompson, Grant Thornton, Gabrielle Toppin, Malik Trice, Rachel Walden, Ashton Wedel and Johannes Zerfass.

SENIORS
(SIX-YEAR SCHOLARS ARE IN BOLD)
Matthew Amann, Kenya Ashby, Drew Ballard, Brenton Banko, Kelci Baumann, Joshua Chambers, Ben Coggin, Cameron Cole, Austyn Davis, Erin Dillard, Erin Ezell, Hannah Farmer, Tyler Fields, Ann Fradenburg, Cannon Funderburk, Erin Hadley, Kristen Hare, Rachel Holman, Ashton Huey, Abby Hunt, Miranda Jones, Mary Margaret Kennedy, Serena Khiantani, Kaitlyn Kornoely, Robert Lence, Mallory Lesley, Ben Logan, Casey Marshall, Benjamin Matthews, Brigid McCool, Miranda Miller, Mary Katherine Nesmith, Alaina Newby, Kayla Nguyen, Thao Nguyen, Corey Owens, Alexandra Presley, Dorie Stewart, Margaret Wheeler, Ashley Williams and Hunter York.

See more photos from ceremony in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.