We’ll unveil our 24th class of Arkansas Times Academic All-Stars in a couple of weeks. These are best and brightest high school seniors across the state — athletes, inventors, musicians, actors, future politicians and budding scientists.
Here’s how we described the creation of the award back in 1995:
The public hears plenty about young people these days. Dead in drive-by shootings. Arrested with drugs. Falling behind in standardized test scores. Pregnant. Unemployed.
When the media focuses on positive achievements of teen-agers, the subject is most often athletics. Say a football all-star team or the next potential basketball millionaire.
Scholarship winners and valedictorians get a little newspaper space, usually in small type in the back pages. You’ll wait a long time before seeing such news lead a television newscast.
The Arkansas Times has heard the complaints from parents and educators of the silent majority — the kids who go to school, do their homework (most of it, anyway), graduate and go on to be contributing members society. And we agree: They deserve news coverage, too.
So we decided several months ago to honor the best of this year’s crop of high school seniors, the success stories of education in Arkansas. It was, as best we could tell, an unprecedented effort.
From time to time, we like to check in with All-Star alumni, many of whom are well into their professional careers. Here’s what some of them were doing in 2014. If you know a former All-Star, can you help put us in touch? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “ALL-STAR” with any info that you have. Read the profiles of past winners here.