Nine Conway High School students have been named National Merit Finalists for 2015-16.
David Desrochers, Allison Dombeck, Bradley Wickliffe, Rachel Lance, Samuel Cloyd, Matthew Sweere, Juan Melendez, Timothy Ablondi, and Josh Vines all received the top honor.
The students will now be eligible for various scholarship awards from the National Merit Scholarship corporation.
Conway High School Principal Joel Linn says these students are an excellent representation of their school.
"These kids work hard at everything they do," says Linn. "They deserve this recognition and we look forward to watching them achieve even more success in the future."
"It is great to receive this honor and be considered one of Conway High's Best and Brightest," says finalist Tim Ablondi. "I am humbled to know that I am in the top percent of seniors in the nation and I would like to thank my parents and all my teachers who have helped me along the way."
Other finalists shared their excitement about their awards as well.
"I'm very excited about the opportunities this achievement has made available to me in terms of scholarships. I plan on pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas," says David Desrochers.
Finalist Allison Dombeck will move to Texas after graduation.
"I plan on attending the University of Texas at Dallas, where I will pursue a degree in Art and Technology," says Dombeck. I enjoy playing cello and painting during my free time."
"I do not know where I am attending college, but I plan to pursue a biochemistry or biology major," says Finalist Rachel Lance. "I also plan to continue to play the violin."
"I am honored to be named a National Merit Scholar," says Finalist Sam Cloyd. "The Conway Public School District has prepared me well and opened doors that will allow me to pursue my goal of entering the field of medicine."
Finalist Juan Melendez says "I'm kind of smart I guess. But I am an anomaly. All I did was take a test."
These nine students are among an elite group of students from across the nation, qualifying for National Merit Semi-Finalist with their score on the PSAT, or National Merit Qualifying Test, and scoring in the top one percent of the nation, then being chosen as a finalist upon review of their high school career as a whole.
Conway Schools' First Graders are having a "Whale of a Time" this week!
As part of their literacy and science curriculum, the first graders took a field trip to see a life-sized whale.
The whale and accompanying exhibits are a partnership with the UCA STEM program.
The whale is set up inside the gym at Carolyn Lewis Elementary School.
Each first grade student had the opportunity to go inside the huge whale to experience what it was like...as well as participate in several other science experiments.
"The very best part is watching the kids' faces when they walk in and see how big the whale actually is," said Nicole Loftis, Instructional Facilitator.
Besides walking inside the giant whale, students also felt the insulating power of blubber firsthand, tried to filter out pretend "krell" from ocean water through their teeth, and had their faces painted.
"This is something they will definitely remember and that their teachers can use as a springboard as they continue to teach this year."
After months of hard work and dedication, the Conway High School JROTC unit retains their status as an elite Honor Unit with Distinction for another year.
The JROTC scored 97.25% on their Accreditation Inspection, conducted by the 5th ROTC Brigade Staff on February 5th.
A unit must score 95% or above to be designated an Honor Unit with Distinction. They are awarded a Gold Star for the honor.
"This is particularly noteworthy since the standards are extremely tight and a unit must be nearly perfect on the inspection day," says Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Speck, Senior Instructor for the JROTC.
"This year’s inspection scoring rubric left little margin for error, requiring 95% or above to keep the gold star. Refusing to accept anything less than their best effort, our JROTC cadets proved that hard work and attention to detail paid off with exemplary results."
"The cadets did a fantastic job. Master Sergeant Stinson and myself could not be prouder of the job they did," says Speck.
Two Conway Public Schools students won first and second place in the Faulkner County Spelling Bee this last weekend.
The "bee" was held at the James H. Clark auditorium and had delegates from schools all across the district and Faulkner County.
Congratulations to Annabel from Simon Middle School, our First Place winner, and Ethan from Carl Stuart Middle School, our Second Place winner.
Next up is the Arkansas State Spelling Bee, which will be held March 12th at UCA. Annabel will compete and Ethan will serve as the Alternate.
Several Wampus Cat Football players have signed letters of intent to continue their football careers in college next year.
Conway had a great turnout for "National Signing Day" in the James H. Clark Auditorium.
These four football players signed with colleges:
Christian Underwood – Delta State
Damontay Allen – Central Methodist University
Breylin Smith – UCA
Austin Norris – UCA
"You can't help but be excited and proud for these 4 guys," says Head Football Coach Clint Ashcraft. "Their hard work and effort for the last 3 years has really paid off. "
Senior tennis player Adam Barnett also committed to play tennis at the University of the Ozarks.
Conway Athletic Director Steve Daniels says it's a great day for Wampus Cat Athletics.
Some fourth grade students at Julia Lee Moore have been spending their lunch time doing a little extra learning!
After completing their latest unit of study, Library-Media Specialist Jennifer Epps gave the students a special challenge.
" I invited 4th graders to conduct research over a children’s book author of their choosing using the Big6 Model we just learned. They used the information to create a Google Slide Show on their own, then the students got to come to the library and have lunch with me while they presented it," Epps explained.
The Big6 Model integrates information search and use skills along with technology tools in a systematic process to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs and tasks.
During lunch, Epps and the group listened to each student as they presented their author.
"It was a great opportunity for the students to experience speaking in front of an audience. We learned new facts about the different authors they discussed. The students were able to see how they could learn from one another’s mistakes and saw the opportunities for growth. I loved the pride they showed as we congratulated each one with a round of applause."
"It was also so fun eating with the students," she added. "They really open up and have such great conversations while eating. They liked the fact that I ate too!"
Mrs. Epps says this was the first time to do this with fourth grade students and she hopes to do it again next year.
Conway Schools' district leaders inspire fellow educators as they share teaching strategies and instructional protocols at an Educational Leadership Conference.
Arkansas teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals met together to discuss curriculum and instruction at the AACIA Leadership Conference Friday afternoon.
Conway's Director of Instructional Services Debbie Bunting shared the district's "Ready to Intervene" (RTI) protocols with the group.
"It was an honor to share the district level work for RTI. The presentation was a testament to the skillful work our administrators and teachers have engaged in this year," Bunting said.
Other members of the Conway Schools' staff led breakout sessions to share various strategies and methods used here in Conway with success this year.
Instructional Facilitator Jacob Sisson showed fellow educators some of the work he is doing with teachers and students at Carl Stuart Middle School.
"So honored to share on the powerful work of RTI Conway is leading for our state. A great opportunity to collaborate and network with other professional leaders," Sisson said.
Theodore Jones Principal Tammy Woosley led the closing for the conference, reminding educators of the importance of the work they do in the lives of the students.
"We are here for ALL kids to learn at high levels so they will be ready for the world they will work in years from
now," said Woosley.
Florence Mattison Elementary School is starting something new to honor members of their staff who go "above and beyond the call of duty."
Today they recognized Fourth Grade Teacher Mrs. Hammons as their first "Faculty Member of the Month."
It was quite a surprise...
"I was completely caught off guard," Hammons says. "Mr. DeFoor, Mrs. Crow, and Mrs. Reynolds (our school secretary) came into my classroom and said they had an announcement to make. I assumed that one of my students was receiving something. When he pulled out the sign my eyes almost popped out of my head!"
Each month teachers and staff will have the opportunity to nominate faculty members they think are deserving of this award.
Along with submitting a name, they also have to provide a brief description of why they selected that person.
From the submissions, school administrators will choose a new faculty member to recognize each month.
"I’m hopeful this will be just one more way that we can recognize great people doing great things at Florence Mattison," says Principal Stacy Defoor.
Hammons says she is honored to be chosen.
"I work hard for my students because I love them and I truly want the best for them; not just academically but socially, emotionally, and behaviorally as well. Even though I don't expect to receive accolades for doing what I love; it's nice to be recognized and have confirmation that I chose the perfect career for myself. I am extremely blessed and grateful for that!"
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