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Commencement ceremonies slated

By Submitted, 05/3/18 1:41 PM


HOPE – A member of the original class of the Hope High School Sports Hall of Fame, now a business and political writer for Talk Business & Politics, will deliver the commencement address for the Hope High School Class of 2018.
Commencement exercises for the graduating seniors at HHS will begin at 6 p.m., May 11, at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas – Hope campus.
Wesley Reko Brown, 56, is a 1980 graduate of HHS, one of the first four inductees into the HHS Sports Hall of Fame as a track and field standout, and is currently the senior political and business reporter for TBP. Brown was the first overall state champion for the Bobcats in the mile and two-mile events, and the overall two-mile event winner and overall third place finisher in the 1980 Arkansas Meet of Champions.
He has made distance running a continuing passion since, and his distance times at HHS still stand. Between 1980 and 1999, Brown won over 250 distance races across the U.S. in 5K and marathon events. He went on from winning the inaugural Hope Watermelon Festival run to competing in the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas, three times; the St. Louis Marathon in 1997; and, finishing 36th and third over-all American finisher in the 1991 Boston Marathon.
Brown coaches and mentors distance runners, having trained over 50 state high school level champions in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas, as well as working with Olympic contenders in distance, sprint and hurdle events.
In his role as lead reporter for TBP, Brown has covered Arkansas legislative news, government policy, and state economic news from the Arkansas Capitol. He is one of only three reporters allowed floor access in the Arkansas Senate during regular sessions of the Arkansas General Assembly.
Brown is also a frequent contributing analyst for veteran political writer and correspondent Steve Barnes’ “Arkansas Week” television program. His writing has been picked up by the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Dow Jones, and The Associated Press news services for national and international distribution.
Brown credits his journalism roots to the Yerger Middle School and Hope High School newspapers and the tutelage of the late Mary Nell Turner at HHS.
A graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where he was also a track and field distance standout, and captain of the cross-country team, Brown began his journalism career at the Tulsa (Okla.) World, where he was part of the award-winning coverage team that detailed the terrorist bombing of the federal Murtha Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. He went on to cover the oil and gas industry for the Tulsa paper, later becoming chief energy correspondent for Bridge News and Reuters business wires.
Brown returned to Arkansas in 2001 to become business editor for the Stephens Media outlet in Fayetteville, before becoming business editor for the Stephens chain in Little Rock. He later served as company spokesman for Alltel Corp. and Transamerica Life Insurance Co., before joining the startup of TBP in 2014.
Candidates for graduation are expected to arrive for line-up backstage in the auditorium at Hempstead Hall by 5:30 p.m., according to senior sponsor Terri Hoglund.
Graduating seniors are to be dressed in caps and gowns, with cap tassels draped over the right temple until after receiving diplomas. Tassels are to be moved to the left side after returning to seating during the ceremony.
Hoglund reminds students and parents that cell phones will not be allowed on stage, and no-one will be allowed on stage to take photographs during commencement ceremonies.
Girls should wear black dress shoes, dress beneath the robe, or follow guidelines for boys. Tiny hoop or stud earrings, watch and rings may be worn by girls.
Boys should wear black dress shoes with dark socks, dark trousers, and white dress shirt with dark colored conservative necktie.
Robes should fit to hang 11 inches above floor level with shoes.
Boys will remove caps during the National Anthem, but girls will remain covered.
Concurrent credit program students in the graduating class will be recognized during the ceremonies, according to HHS Principal Bill Hoglund.
Diplomas will be retained until after the ceremony, and will be available if all fines and other obligations are resolved prior to commencement.
End of year honors will also be awarded on other HPS campuses this month.
Kindergarten students will graduate to first grade in ceremonies at Clinton Primary School on May 22.
Sixth grade students at Beryl Henry Elementary School will also graduate May 22 in 9:30 a.m. ceremonies in the BHE cafeteria. Students should wear red uniform shirts and khaki pants to school that day, Principal Dr. Roy Turner said.
Yerger Middle School honors will be announced in an awards assembly at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus May 23 at 9 a.m.
Hope Academy of Public Service students will also be recognized at a May 24 awards assembly at Hempstead Hall.
The final day of classes for the 2017-2018 academic year in the Hope Public Schools will be May 25.