Tanner Barnes, Farmington High School
College plans: Hendrix College, political science
ACT score: 28
Activities: Academic Competition for Excellence; varsity football; volunteer 7th grade football coach; Barnes Trucking employee
Top honors: AP Scholar with Honor Award (2016), Arkansas Boys State delegate (2016), National Society of High School Scholars (2015), President's Education Award (2013), Lead America Medicine & Healthcare Conference delegate (2013)
Quote: "While the accolades are great, nothing is more important to me than the values I've gained along the way: teamwork, commitment and perseverance; these are values that transcend the football field."
Reason for nomination: "Tanner is a shining reflection of the core values that we cherish in our district: service, integrity and excellence," said Clayton Williams, Farmington Career Academies principal.
Jennifer Avellaneda Bravo, Lincoln High School
College plans: University of Arkansas, biological engineering
ACT score: 24
Activities: FFA (four years); Student Council (four years); drama (three years); American Drive-In employee (2 years)
Top honors: FFA floriculture, first place state (2015); FFA food science, first place state (2016), fourth place nationals (2016), fourth place individual at state (2016)
Quote: "The transition from home to school was tough for me, especially when I went straight into kindergarten with a limited ability to speak English. It took a while but I eventually caught up to the other kids in my class and was able to excel."
Reason for nomination: "Jennifer Avellaneda is the valedictorian of her class, and she works at a local restaurant approximately 30 hours per week," said Courtney Jones, principal. "She has incredible work ethic, and it shows in everything she does."
Jascha Van Brunt, Elkins High School
College plans: Ithaca College, emerging media
ACT score: 32
SAT score: 1410
Activities: Elkins band, tenor saxophone and drum major (2013-2017); Upward Bound (2013-2017); bowling (2013-2017); National Honor Society (2015-2017); carhop at Sonic Drive-In (2015-2017)
Top honors: Upward Bound Sophomore Science Award for Research (2014), Community Blood Center Gallon Graduate (2017), Governor's Scholastic Honor Day Invitee (2017), Elkins High School All A's All Year Award (2013-2017)
Quote: "Through my extensive learning, I have become more independent. I have also learned about myself, including my strengths, weaknesses and favorite subjects."
Reason for nomination: "Jascha is an exceptional student," said Kelley Hipps, school counselor. "She is No. 1 in her graduating class and has worked very hard to achieve that goal."
Emerson Cobbs, Heritage High School
College plans: University of the South, history
ACT score: 26
Activities: Church head usher; Boy Scouts; First Methodist youth group; football; Heritage Young Republicans
Quote: "Education is as much surviving as it is thriving and it helps me come to a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me; a two-way street."
Reason for nomination: "Emerson is a unique individual, unlike any that have graced our halls," said Tina McClure, school counselor. "There is something about him that captures you and gives you hope for the future."
Chloe Deavens, Fayetteville Christian School
College plans: University of Arkansas, pre-med
ACT score: 25
Activities: Chief editor of school yearbook (2017); class president (2016, 2017); captain of girls varsity basketball team (2013-2017); iYes Foundation shoe drive (2017); church volunteer
Top honors: Kiwanis Youth Award nominee (2017), Arkansas Girls State delegate (2016), Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Traning Program (2015), Arkansas State Science Fair (2017), Outstanding Volunteer Commitment award (2016)
Quote: "It is very meaningful to me to live my life to help others and influence them for good."
Reason for nomination: "She is a complete person of quality and generosity of spirit, and we could not be more proud to have her represent our school to the Fayetteville community," said Rachel McGathy, guidance counselor.
Richard Joshuva, Ambassadors for Christ Academy
College plans: University of Arkansas, computer science
ACT score: 35
Activities: Computer volunteer at church (3 years); basketball (4 seasons); BEST Robotics (4 seasons); senior planning committee; web development intern at Whyte Spyder
Top honors: Valedictorian (2017), "A" honor roll (2004-2017), "Faculty Commendation" (2013-2017), NWACC Rising Scholars (2017)
Quote: "Achieving or getting closer to one's goals is only a byproduct of combining existing skills or interests with a drive to always learn more and be more. In my life, this attribute has allowed me to move forward toward my own goals and excel academically."
Reason for nomination: "Richie is exceptionally bright; however, he never flaunts his knowledge, and is, in fact, humble regarding his academic abilities," said David R. Welshenbaugh, school administrator.
Kirsten Keels, West Fork High School
College plans: Princeton University, anthropology and music
ACT score: 30
Activities: Choir (4 years); senior high band (3.5 years); Future Community and Career Leaders of America (4 years); National Honor Society (2 years); journalism (1 year)
Top honors: Arkansas Governor's School (2016), Arkansas Young Playwright's winner (2015), Arkansas All-Region/All-State Chorus (2014-2017), QuestBridge Scholar (2016-present),
Quote: "Change is fun! Not only is it fun to dart from subject to subject soaking up vast amounts of knowledge to harness, but it's fun to not know what comes next, the only certainty being constant change."
Reason for nomination: "Kristen is a passionate, driven student that has set high goals for herself," said Jo Lawson, business and marketing teacher.
Liliana Pleitez, Rogers New Technology High School
College plans: University of Arkansas, nursing
ACT score: 23
Activities: National Honor Society; Hispanic Ambassadors Club; St. Vincent de Paul annual confirmation retreat and food pantry volunteer; TJ Maxx employee
Top honors: National History Day, first place regional finalist (2014, 2016) and second place state finalist (2016); National Honor Society president (2017); Chamber of Commerce award (2013-2017); NWACC Life Quiz Program, geography contest, second place (2015) and speech contest, first place (2016); Arvest First Leadership graduate (2016)
Quote: "The number of assignments that I have completed in the past 13 years of my life are priceless to me because each one of them helped me to further my education."
Reason for nomination: "Liliana is really a model young woman and could be a poster child for what's right with our youth," said Brenda Walkenbach, school counselor. "She has a wonderful personality, hard working and takes care of her business."
Elizabeth Versluis, Arkansas Arts Academy
College plans: University of Central Arkansas
ACT score: 32
Activities: Interscholastic Equestrian Association shows, team captain (2012-2017); School Family Amazeum Tinkerfest (2015); Crystal Bridges garden party (2016); The Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens (2016)
Top honors: Pea Ridge National Military Park art show, first place (2016); Superintendent's Award (2014); valedictorian of graduating class (2017); Governor's Distinguished Scholar
Quote: "Over the years I have found that the satisfaction of trying my hardest and being able to call my work mine has always been my biggest motivator and the relief of turning in assignments has been the biggest reward."
Reason for nomination: "Many people can achieve much and work hard; but there is something special about someone who not only achieves but demonstrates humility, respect and kindness as well; something that needs to be rewarded and recognized; something that I think is lacking in today's mainstream youth culture," said Leslie Pappas, school counselor.
Madeline White, Har-Ber High School
College plans: University of Arkansas, education
ACT score: 23
Activities: Lady Wildcat volleyball; coordinated school Health Committee; Springdale Youth Center volleyball coach; Vanity employee; T.J. Maxx employee
Top honors: HOSA president (2016-2017), HOSA State Leadership Conference, first place PSA (2016, 2017), National Honor Society (2015), state volleyball runner-up (2015, 2016)
Quote: "Starting at a young age, I knew I wanted to be successful. Being told by my parents that success is earned not given, I vowed to work hard in the classroom and in life in order to succeed."
Reason for nomination: "As president of HOSA, Maddie has led many projects with calmness, a positive attitude and a smile. She is currently organizing the high school blood drive," said Colleen Foster, school counselor. "The four medical teachers can always count on her."
NW News on 05/11/2017