Since 1971, the University of Kansas has sponsored the Kansas Honors Program, which rewards seniors in Kansas who are in the top 10 percent of their class with recognition on their academic achievements.
Out of the 71 seniors in the Rock Creek senior class, seven students were selected as Kansas Honor Scholars, including Katie Dulohery, Marshall Fike, Haley Petty, Zane Roberts, Derek Shaheen, Haley Smith and Kacy Turnbull.
“Those folks again would be in the top of their class in terms of cumulative GPA,” counselor Kevin Sullivan said.
Contrary to what people believe when they think of scholarships, scholars who are recognized as Kansas Honor Scholars are not given financial scholarships for their achievements.
“There is no money attached to it, but it is just recognition, so I got a certificate for it,” Derek Shaheen said.
KU did have a ceremony to recognize the students for their achievements.
“There was one in Manhattan in November,” Shaheen said. “They used to have all of them go to KU to do it all at once, but now they have regional ones.”
While Shaheen was out of town for the Manhattan ceremony, Turnbull was able to attend the event.
“I went to Manhattan High School for a presentation and was given a medal for that,” Turnbull said. “They usually give dictionaries, but this year they did away with that.”
Prices for the ceremonies have been increasing each year, so the ceremonies have changed, according to Sullivan.
“This year was different,” Sullivan said. “They used to have a meal and then a program. It was so expensive that they moved to more regional sites. They used to offer probably 20 to 30 sites throughout the state, and they tried to consolidate those to save money this year. The program is a shorter version of what they have done in the past because a full meal was quite expensive for KU. Now it is just drinks and snacks after the program. It is kind of a shorter version, and they do not give out dictionaries anymore.”
Seniors who are Kansas Honor Scholars will have their achievement on their resumes. Being a Kansas Honor Scholar will help them with college applications and scholarship applications.
“I haven’t really decided [what I want to pursue],” Turnbull said. “I know I am going into business, and I feel like it will affect that because of all the work I put in to keep myself at the top [of my class] without even realizing it. I was going to help with my work ethic as I go into the workforce.”
Students who are Kansas Honor Scholars are influential leaders at their school, Sullivan said. Being a Kansas Honor Scholar is a reminder to themselves and others that if they work hard, they deserve to be recognized for that effort.
“Don’t constantly be obsessed with your grades,” Turnbull said. “If you have B, you are still alright. I am not a 4.0 every semester, and I am a Kansas Honor Scholar. You do not have to be perfect; you just need to work for it.”
Article and photo by Malea Karnes, staff member