Kiwanis Club president Lynn Chadwick welcomed everyone to the Kiwanis Honors Reception, expressing that this is a glorious event for the Kiwanis Club and the highlight of the Club’s year Sunday, April 29, 2018 at the Barton-Lexa High School in the Kirkland Multi-Purpose Building.
Janice Williams came on stage to lead everyone in the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Kiwanis Club proudly saluted the 2018 Honors Graduates who maintained at least a 3.5 GPA including taking honors courses that are more difficult than the average high school course. “The students we are honoring today truly deserve this recognition,” said Chadwick. The Reception honored graduates from Barton-Lexa High School, Central High School, Desoto School, KIPP Delta Collegiate High School, Marvell Academy and Marvell-Elaine High School.
Chadwick recognized each Honors Student. As each student’s name was called, they came to the podium, introduced themselves and what high school they attended, recognized family members who where in attendance and told the audience where they planned to attend college and what their major is going to be, before Kiwanis Vice-President Scott Post presented each of them with a 2018 Honors Certificate.
The 2018 Honors Graduates include:
Casey Arnold - Barton; Kayla Bennett - Central; Michael Boone - Central; Courtney Brocato - Desoto; Chris Brown - Barton; Kenisha Bush - Barton; Mykayla Cagle - KIPP Delta; Tinsley Clark - Desoto; Avriana Daniels - Barton; Mattison Davis - Barton; Jameshia Edmond - Central; Gracie Fuller - Marvell Academy; Makayla Garrison - Barton; Alana Gonner - Barton; Brianna Harrison - Central; Annesha Harrison - Central; Kavari Hartman - Barton and John Huff - KIPP Delta.
Abigail Jackson - Desoto; Irving Jackson - KIPP Delta; Brianna Jones - Baton; Maddie kendrick - Desoto; Michael Kinsley - Marvell-Elaine; Kayla Larry - Barton; Cedareia Lathrop - KIPP Delta; Cylee Laxson - Barton; Jordan Littleton - Barton; Shelly Lusk - Barton; Nykesha Miller - Central; Jaheim Mills - Barton; Ramsey Pillow - Desoto; Klaryssa Rose - Barton; Meghan Rutledge - Barton; Amiya Scaife - Marvell-Elaine; Shelly Scemons - Marvell Academy; Kaylie Schwartz - Desoto.
Anthony Smith - Barton; Bradly Smith - Barton; Virgina Smith - KIPP Delta; Tyler Stanbery - Barton; Morgan Steeland - Marvell Academy; Pharane Stokes - Barton; J’Tyia Thomas - Central; Tierra Those - Central; Brian Tran - Barton; Candace Tucker - Central; Nathan Turner - Marvell Academy; Tanya Wilkins - Barton; Megan Wilkison - Marvell Academy; Kapresha Williams - KIPP Delta; Nakisha Williams - Central; Jakayla Willis - KIPP Delta; Cole Young - Marvell Academy and Kendall Young - Desoto.
Adrian Messina, who has been in the Helena-West Helena Kiwanis Club for 45 years, introduced the Keynote Speaker, Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith.
“It’s and honor and a blessing to actually be here today,” said Smith. “Each and everyone here today holds a special place in all of our hearts. Lets first and foremost give all the parents a round of applause.”
“The one thing I want to tell each and every one of the students here today, you’re about to go off to college. You’re about to experience something that is great,” said Smith. “The first thing you’ll experience is getting out of your parent’s house and have a little freedom. But here’s the deal, this is what I want you to understand, and this is my story and where I’m at, at this date. No matter what you do in life, no matter where you go always hold God first. If you don’t know Him, you need to learn, to understand who He is and identify He’s going to be person in your life thats going to help you with your achievements. For those who are going off to medical school, I just want to throw this in here, I’m here with my lovely wife, who is the real boss of the house. She is a professor at the University of Memphis in Nursing. Those who want to get to know anything about that field, please get with her and talk to her about this.”
“I was born and raised in Helena Arkansas,” stated Smith.”I came from a single parent home, where I didn’t have a father. My father was not in my life, however I had strong women in my life. My grandmother and my mother. They worked hard to get me where I’m at today. But the one key thing that I was alway told was to remember where I came from, always remember home. Always remember that you have to come back at some point to give back to your community.”
“Another thing, no matter how many degrees, how many accolades, how many accomplishments you have, you owe it to do something for your community,” said Smith. “You owe it to understand that God is always going to continue to be first. Because He will open doors for you. Yes, I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. I’ve been all over the world for my job. But I always talked about this little town on the east side of the Delta called Helena-West Helena Arkansas. How the core values that this community has given me. Even though there was no father in my household, I always had some father, my Heavenly Father, first and foremost.”
“The second thing is, I had good people around me,” said Smith. “Individuals who cared about my education and my background. If you want these doors to open for you, education is essential. Now, when I started off I thought I was going to be a band director, but I’m the Chief of Police. The great thing about keeping God first is I remember when I was eight years old, I walked up to one of the Chiefs, Vincent Bell, and I said, ‘Chief Bell, I want to be a police officer, I want to be a Chief one day. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, Son, get your education, be somebody, do something,’ and that always stuck with me. That I was blessed, not to just apply for this job, I didn’t have too, because I believed in what God had for me.”
“The second thing is you got to understand, that now your going to have this freedom, you have to use some type of discretion.,” said Smith. “Your going to have to know whats going to hurt you, whats going to help you. You got to understand most of you walked up here on the stage and said what you’re doing now, may not be your purpose in life, what God has for you. The purpose is understanding that God judges a man’s heart, not his deeds. They are like filthy rags.”
“So what you do everyday, is you build these bridges and don’t tear down bridges. Always know that one day you may have to walk across the bridge again,” said Smith. “Another thing that you need to understand is commitment. Being committed to what you do. When I first started college I dropped out of college, because I wanted to party. I came back home to Helena-West Helena for four months until my grandmother told me, ‘boy, grown men don’t stay with their Moma. So, you can’t stay here. I remember at 10 years old, I remember Christmas time, my Mom didn’t buy me anything for Christmas. She brought me outside, and said you’re no longer going to be a boy. Today I’m going to show you how to be a man. She bought me an old lawn mower and said son, you’re going to cut yards and that how you’re going to pay for your college and things you need for school. And that’s what I did.”
“Be somebody, understand that your heart is pure,” said Smith.
Smith shared Proverbs 18:21 about the power of the tongue, and Matthew 7:6 about not giving that which is holy unto the dogs. “What is pure and precious to you? That’s your body and your mind. When you go off to college you protect that,” said Smith. “Watch what you do. Trust in the Good Lord, keep yourself pure and do what needs to be done because people will come back and take what is holy to you. Understand, it’s a duty you owe to your parents, because when you go off to school, you are a representative of grandma, uncle, cousin and even me, your friend Chief Smith.”
With more words of wisdom and encouragement Chief Smith told the graduates that he is taking his torch and passing it to each one of them to say whatever you want to do in life, you can do it, no one can stop you, but you.
Dana Chadwick came to the podium to present the scholarships.
Ainsley Clark, of Desoto School, is the 2018 recipient of the John J. Lueken Jr. Memorial Essay Award. Given in memory of a dedicated, beloved Kiwanian who exemplified the interest that al Kiwanians have in our young people.
Bradly Smith, of Barton High School was the recipient of the George Andrews Memorial Scholarship Award. Given in memory of a thoroughly good, hard-working Kiwanian who was instrumental in starting Awards Program many years ago.