HOPE – A return to a tradition in semi-normal fashion was the mark of the Hope High School Class of 2021 as the 140 graduating seniors were honored in commencement ceremonies May 14 at Hammons Stadium.
Tempered by the continuation of COVID-19 protocols restricting attendance, requiring use of face masks and engaging social distancing, the ceremonies were considered a triumph for HHS and the Class of 2021 after a disappointing, albeit historic, virtual commencement in 2020.
HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart reflected upon the remarkable year which the ceremony capped.
“Unfortunately, the Class of 2020 was deprived of this opportunity,” Dr. Hart said, referring to the impact of COVID-19. “You should be proud of yourselves; you have made it through a remarkable year. Despite everything you went full speed ahead; you showed the signs of a winner.”
Hart extended that recognition to the inaugural class of the Hope Collegiate Academy which set a milestone with their graduation from HHS and the University of Arkansas – Hope.
“It is my sincere hope that with this class, every student can leave Hope High School with sixty hours of college credit becomes a reality,” he said.
The 24 graduates received Associate of Arts degrees from the University of Arkansas-Hope on May 11 in ceremonies at Hempstead Hall.
The inaugural HCA class included Arelli Alexandra Alardo, Za’nautica Unique Barker, Eric Blake Barton, Michaela De’shanay Clark, William Darton Davis, Na’khia Rayvon Green, Ke’ara Shania Key, Kristina Daneille King, Montezerrat leija, Annabeth Grace Martin, William Drake Martin, Nataly Ramirez, Ashton Breanne Revels, Noemi Bernice Salazar, Jared Evan Santifer, Quincy Daniel Stovall and Ayden Elise Sundberg. HCA honor graduates were Brooke Christine Hurt and Kenzi Beth Taylor.
The return to Hammons Stadium brought the HHS celebration back to campus from Hempstead Hall on a day marked with the candor and humor of guest speaker Steven Walden, who reflected the missed opportunity of 2020 when he was scheduled to speak.
“I graduated on this field,” Walden said. “I was a Bobkitten, a Bobcat and marched alongside the Hope Superband as part of the Midget Squad.”
Walden skewered some of the traditions of commencement with humor as he relished them.
“You’re sitting here tonight with a giant, red Hefty bag over your Sunday clothes,” he quipped.
A Bobcat alumus spoke at Walden’s 1993 commencement, he said. Walden pointed out the speaker gave a lot of advice that he considered cliché; then, Walden proceeded to lace the rest of his speech with clichés.
“There are things he should have said, like, ‘Do what you like,’” Walden noted. “Figure out what you love, then get somebody to pay you to do it.”
While Walden said remembering the past is valuable, he encouraged looking to the future.
“Will what is happening now still be important ten years from now?” he asked.
Walden emphasized how Hope has been home to many inspiring people, but each graduate must learn to become an adult, undertake experience in life and develop sound judgment for themselves.
“Remember, there is something special about Hope that gives… hope,” he said.
Honor graduates for the Class of 2021 were Na’Tyja White, Summa Cum Laude; Brooke Christine Hurt, Kenzie Beth Taylor, Jazmin Azucena Martinez, Michelle Mayo-Cortez, Lizbeth Arroyo, Magna Cum Laude; and, Dayana Guadalupe Cardona, Verenice Leyva, Asia Sa’moyne Stockdale, Ashanti Danielle Phillips and Jaci Linn Johnson, Cum Laude.
HHS faculty honors announced May 13 included:
American Legion Citizenship Award – Jaci L. Johnson, Ryan C. Walker.
Beryl Henry Award – Joshua Johnson.
Irma Dean Award – Lizbeth Arroyo.
James H. Jones Award – Asia S. Stockdale, Oathis L. Ward.
Scholarship awards announced May 13 included:
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Scholarship – Brittney Martinez.
April Love Memorial Award – Joshua Johnson, Ashanti Phillips, Asia Stockdale, Na’Tyja White.
Arkansas School Plant Management Association Scholarship – Travion Rhodes.
Civitan Scholarship – Kristina King.
Counselor’s Award – Asia Stockdale.
Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship – Joshua Johnson.
Denny Dickinson Memorial Scholarship – Asia Stockdale.
Gwendolyn Roshelle Smith Scholarship – Joshua Johnson.
Heidi Hoglund Memorial Scholarship – Lizbeth Arroyo.
Hope Booster Club Scholarship – Justin Armstrong, Brittney Martinez.
Hope Evening Lions Club – Joshua Johnson.
Hope Lions Club Scholarship – Michaela Clark, Na’Tyja White.
Irene May Mitchell Scholarship – Joshua Johnson.
Junior Auxiliary of Hope – Bianca Juarez, Brooke Hurt, Na’Tyja White.
Kiwanis Club: Jim McKenzie Memorial Scholarship – Ashanti Phillips.
Kiwanis Club: Henry Seamans Scholarship – Alexia Freeman.
Karen Ivers Dyslexia Scholarship – Joshua Johnson.
Life Share Life Scholarship – Lizbeth Arroyo.
Stacy Lunn Monk Memorial Scholarship – Nyla Muldrew.
Steel Dynamics New Millennium Scholarship – Annabeth Martin, Jared Santifer.
Yerger Rutherford Scholarship – Na’Tyja White.
Harding University Scholarship – Kristina King.
Southern Arkansas University Scholarship – Erika Juarez, Brooke Hurt, Ashanti Phillips.
University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Scholarship – Asia S. Stockdale, Ryan C. Walker.
UAHT Certificates of Proficiency: Nursing Assistant – Bianca Juarez, Brianna Rodriguez, Brittney Martinez, Charitie Phillips, Madisyn Ellis, Na’Tyja White, Chelerome McFadden. Construction Welding – Faith Barnett, Jazmin Martinez.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Silas Hunt Distinguished Scholarship – Ryan Cortez Walker.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, First Year Advantage (Room and Board) – Annabeth Martin.
University of Arkansas Transfer Scholarship – Arelli Alvarado, Za’nautica Barker, Eric Barton, Michaela Clark, William Davis, Na’khia green, Brooke Hurt, Ke’ara Key, Kristina King, Montezerrat Leija, Annabeth Martin, William Martin, Nataly Ramirez, Ashton Revels, Noemi Salazar, Jared Santifer, Quincy Stovall, Ayden Sundberg, Kenzi Taylor.
University of Arkansas, University Scholarship – Kenzi Taylor, Na’Tyja White.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor’s Scholarship – Ke’ara Key.
University of Central Arkansas: Future Leaders Scholarship – Lizbeth Arroyo, Dayana Cardona, Brooke Hurt, Ke’Ara Key, Kristina King, Asia Stockdale.
Governor’s Award for Musical Excellence – Ke’Ara Key.
Arkansas Juvenile Officers Association Scholarship – Alicia Gilmore.
Career/Technical Completers – Lizbeth Arroyo, Anntaeia Briggs, Yesenia DeLaRosa, Madisyn Ellis, Ammy Garcia, Cesar Garcia, Nakiyah Newton, Magaly Moreno, Nyla Muldrew, Gloria Jetton, Pamela Thirdgill, Nia Glover, Chelerome McFadden Jr., Asia S. Stockdale, Aaron Aguilar, Dekobe Conway, Karen Hernandez, Jaci Johnson, Mariuna McClenton, Daiona Perkins, Cameron Rhodes, Tyrese Weston, Marcus Bell, Oswaldo Bello, Uriel Sanchez, Cesar Santos, Britney Alvarado.
Life Scholars Award – DeKobe Conway, Yesenia DeLaRosa, Adrian Dominguez, Eduardo Dominguez, Oshiona Flowers, Alexiah Freeman, Alicea Gilmore, Joshua Johnson, Verenice Leyva, Micehlle Mayo-Cortez, Chelerome McFadden, Emily Miller, Danya Muldrow, Samuel Munoz, Carlos Navarrete, Carlos Pacheco, Daviona Perins, Uriel Sanchez, Devon Stutson, Autumn Ward, Karl Williams.
National Honor Society (senior stoles) – Lizbeth Arroyo, Zanautica Barker, Darton Davis, Brooke Hurt, Jaci Johnson, Bianca Juarez, Ke’Ara Key, Kristina King, Verenice Leyva, Annabeth Martin, Brittney Martinez, Jazmin Martinez, Ashanti Phillips, Noemi Salazar, Asia Stockdale, Ayden Sundberg, Na’Tyja White.
The Creative Action Team School campus graduated four senior students with the HHS Class of 2021 including Oscar Nava, Karl Williams, Ty’Kendrus Harper and Felicia Rodriguez.