SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: Badger Scholar Program

By Patterson Federal Credit Union

On Monday, May 9, 2022, Arkadelphia High School will have their first Badger Scholar Dinner since May of 2019. This program, which has been in existence for over 40 years, recognizes Arkadelphia High School students for their academic success. Former Principal Castleberry started the program as a way to encourage students to do well in the classroom and offer them additional recognition for their efforts. While it has changed over the years with different administration, technology, and the pandemic, the core of the program remains the same as it was four decades ago.

Current advisors, Steve Patterson and Beverly Slavens, enjoy the fact that this is a unique program designed to highlight academic achievement that many other schools don’t have. In order to be a Badger Scholar, students must first sign up at the beginning of the year indicating their intent to maintain a 3.5 GPA for the first 9 weeks of the school year. If they are signed up and do maintain at least a 3.5 GPA they are recognized as a Badger Scholar at the annual banquet. During the banquet there is dinner served and a guest speaker, and each student is recognized for their academic achievements.

Students are recognized both by their class (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior) and the number of years they have been a Badger Scholar. Because this is based on maintaining a 3.5 GPA each grading period, it is possible for a student to fall below that for a marking period but be able to enter the program again the next year and start fresh. Besides the recognition, students are also given awards. First-year Badger Scholars receive a pen, followed by a shirt the second year, and a plaque and blanket in third and fourth years, respectively.

Three senior football players are excited to be receiving recognition as first-year Badger Scholars on Monday night. Braylon Bailey, Kobey Buckley, and Jaishon Davis all plan to attend Henderson State University in the fall.

Bailey will be studying business and has goals of entrepreneurship in the future, Buckley will be majoring in wildlife and field biology, and Davis will study biology with the goal of becoming a marine biologist. In the past none of these young men had signed up for the program, which is why this is their first year of recognition. Bailey indicated he is excited for the banquet Monday, and Buckley and Davis said this program has motivated them to keep up the 3.5 GPA so they can also be awarded medallions at graduation.

Calvin Clardy, Anna Derby, and Kevin Ghodela are all third-year Badger scholars that are juniors.

Pictured, from left, are Calvin Clardy, Anna Derby, Kevin Ghodela and Owen Morgan, president of the junior class which helps coordinate the Badger Scholar Dinner.

Each of them has been in the program their entire time at AHS; however this will be their first banquet due to COVID restrictions not allowing the school to have it for the last few years. Derby said that while they have received their awards for the past two years, the recognition wasn’t really there as no one else saw that. Ghodela looks forward to seeing what this banquet is all about and enjoys how unique it is to get recognition for their academics. Clardy indicated that he has always gotten straight A’s and it was very easy to sign up for this program. “It was easy to sign up for something that will be so rewarding in the end,” indicated Derby. 

This year’s program will honor 167 students, 33 of which are seniors. The event will be at Henderson State University and will include Dr. Lewis Shepherd as the keynote speaker. Many local sponsors will be thanked for their assistance in making the evening a success. 

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