EDITORIAL: Congrats to Academic Excellence Team

·2 min read

May 16—For the second consecutive Sunday, another round of congratulations is in order — this time, for the Joplin Globe's All-Area Academic Excellence Team.

The team, which honors some of the best and brightest graduating high school seniors in the area, is a program of the Globe's Newspapers in Education department. Students are nominated by their principals or counselors, and they are selected for the team based on their cumulative GPA and ACT or SAT scores. They're typically recognized each spring with a banquet at sponsoring institution Missouri Southern State University, although this year's was canceled because of the pandemic.

"We know canceling the banquet is another disappointment that unfortunately our kids have gotten used to," said Amanda Stone, the Globe's NIE coordinator. "We are so proud of our resilient students representing our community who continue to excel despite the challenges of this academic year."

Now in its 35th year, the program was launched from an idea by Ron Lankford, former Webb City superintendent and current assistant superintendent for the Joplin School District.

"When we started this thing, we put together the criteria that needed to be met with the idea of recognizing the academic all-stars of the area," Lankford told us last year. "We wanted it to be based on what the students accomplished in the classroom. ... We wanted leaders from the classroom."

This year's team included Patrick Beranek, Levi Stokesbary and Benjamin Watkins, of Joplin High School; Johanna Jeyaraj, Jihyun Jane Min and Owen D'Amour, of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School; Samuel Kim and Cade Wilkerson, of Carl Junction High School; Trenton Hayes, Sophie Roy and Elease McFall, of Webb City High School; Daelon Shockley, of Carthage High School; Avery Campbell, of Columbus (Kansas) Unified High School; Pierce Stolte, of Baxter Springs (Kansas) High School; Joseph Lee and Chanu Lee, of Pittsburg (Kansas) High School; Kaitlynn Gilmore, of Miami (Oklahoma) High School; and Jeffrey Schremmer, Mary Grace Goetting and Kaitlin Crossland, of St. Mary's-Colgan High School.

The students took the time to tell us a little about themselves, including what their long-term goals are and what advice they would give their younger peers for academic success. They have a range of interests and passions, and they bring a variety of skills and future plans to the table, but each is sure to leave a mark on the world. Each student also wrote a short essay about an educator who inspired them, and it's clear that there are some fantastic teachers out there who are raising up the next generation of leaders.

If you missed any of their profiles, you can find them in the past two weeks of the Globe and online at joplinglobe.com.

Good luck to this team on the next phase of life. You are certain to go far.

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