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Students recognized at Kiwanis Scholar Banquet

By Staff, 05/7/19 9:24 AM

PRESCOTT – Students in Prescott High School were honored for their academic achievements at the 47th Annual Kiwanis Honor’s Banquet Monday night.

The banquet was held in the Prescott Junior High School cafeteria, and was packed with extra tables needing to be set up for the overflow crowd.

The purpose of the banquet was to honor the sophomores, juniors and seniors who maintain academic excellence, along with presenting scholarships to two seniors to help with their college expenses.

The keynote speaker, Ben Hale, was introduced by Glenn Vasser, who first recognized the Hale family. Vasser also congratulated the students on their achievements, along with their parents for the support they’ve provided the students.

Hale, he said, was the valedictorian of the PHS Class of ’05 and went to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville where he earned his BA, graduating in ’09. While there, Hale was elected as student body treasurer and was a student senator to the Fulbright College. He went into business after graduation, traveled extensively and decided to go to law school at UA-F, where he graduated in 2015 with a 3.17 GPA. From there he helped found a technology company, but came back to Prescott where he later took and passed the bar in 2018 and is now a deputy prosecuting attorney with the 8th Judicial District North.

Hale said he was honored to be asked to speak, but hasn’t yet done enough in his life to deserve it. “Fifteen years ago I was sitting where you are,” he said. “We’re here to honor your achievements and to show that we believe in and support the youth of this community.”

There were three points Hale talked about in his speech: preparation, failure and gratitude. He said some of the students were blessed to get where they are with little effort while others had to work hard to get there. As life progresses, he said, they’ll need a bit of both. Hale pointed out high school doesn’t prepare students for college life, though it does provide the tools to succeed, and college doesn’t prepare students for what comes later. He told the audience law school didn’t prepare him for the bar exam and the bar didn’t prepare him to practice law. “Preparation doesn’t happen before you enter the next phase of your life. You don’t understand what you face until you’re in the middle of it. Preparing for success happens day by day.”

It’s a shame, he said, failure is looked down on in this country. In preparing for success, he continued, failure will be encountered, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. He pointed out how the first Constitution of the newly formed country of America was a complete failure, yet the second one is a beacon for the world. Thomas Edison, he said, tried 3,000 different filaments for the light bulb before finding the right one, and Abraham Lincoln finished eighth in his first political race. Sam Walton lost the lease on his first store when the owner refused to renew it, and because of his perseverance, Wal-Mart is now a global concern.

“If you research success, you’ll see it’s preceded by a lot of failure.”

He told the students they need to be grateful to the people in their lives who’ve helped them get where they are. He said they should thank their parents daily for the sacrifices they’ve made to help them. Hale suggested the students thank one person each day for helping them, telling them they’ll be amazed at the results and what they get in return.

Jessica Gutierrez, the Key Club sponsor, recognized the Key Club officers and congratulated the students on their achievements.

Robert Poole, superintendent of the Prescott School District, presented a plaque with the honor students in grades 10-12. This plaque will be placed on a wall where future students can see. This was started in 1972.

Hyacinth Deon presented $500 scholarships to two students. Normally the scholarships go to seniors in the Nevada and Prescott districts, but this year no Nevada students applied. James Barham and McKenzie Loe were given the scholarships.