Friday, May 29, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Class of 2015 says farewell

Area high schools have wrapped up graduation season, sending young people on to further their educations in college, technical-training programs and into adulthood.

In all six high schools in The Leader’s coverage area, 1,481 seniors received diplomas and earned more than $18.2 million in scholarship offers.

Cabot High School is the largest, and perhaps most academically successful, school in central Arkansas. The school graduated 639 students — 181 were honor graduates — who netted $9.8 million in scholarships.

Soo Matthews and Annalise Jirik were the class of 2015 valedictorians.

Lexi Weeks and Tori Weeks, twin sisters who earned national attention for their accomplishments in track and field, were co-salutatorians.

Lexi holds the national high school record for indoor pole-vaulting, as well as six school records and two state records.

She’s also a decathlon champion who will attend the University of Arkansas, which has a world-class track and field program.

Tori has set five school track records and will also join the University of Arkansas’ pole-vaulting team.

The New York Times profiled the young ladies on Feb. 24 in an article called “Twin Pole-Vaulters Reach the Height of Alikeness.” It’s a must read. Be sure to flip through the Times’ slideshow for a reminder that this newspaper has been following the Weeks sisters for three years.

At Jacksonville High School, 176 graduates earned diplomas and $3.4 million in scholarships. Leading their class were Co-Valedictorians John Herrmann and Jonah Rodgers, along with Salutatorian Greg Jones.

Across town, at North Pulaski High School, Valedictorian Lindsay Spell and Salutatorian Cameron Bajorek led the way as 154 seniors received diplomas and $1.5 million in scholarships. North Pulaski will graduate its last class next year before it is consolidated with Jacksonville High and the Redmond Road campus is turned into a middle school.

Sylvan Hills High School graduated 169 students who were offered $1.5 million in scholarship money. At the head of their class were Valedictorian J.T. Espejo and Salutatorian Jonathan Waller.

Beebe High School granted diplomas to 195 students — with Katherine Pearson as valedictorian and Erich-Matthew Pulfer as salutatorian — who earned more than $3 million in college scholarships.

Lonoke High School graduated 148 students who earned $2 million in scholarships. Class of 2015 valedictorians were Sophia Vincent, Bailey Staton and Megan Bayer, and Chandler Elmore was salutatorian. Congratulations to all.