Lee wins PRAISE award
Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 28, 2016
Hayes Lee set a personal goal for himself when he first took the ACT test, but he never expected that goal to lead to the PRAISE scholarship.
“I was really excited,” said Lee, a Pike Liberal Arts senior. “I never really thought about that scholarship. I just tried to do my best.”
And his best was to score a 30 on the ACT college entrance exam, the highest among all the 2106 graduates throughout Pike County.
“Thirty was my personal goal,” he said humbly. “And I got it halfway through my junior year.”
The achievement earned Lee the $1,000 PRAISE scholarship, awarded Wednesday by the Education Committee of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.
The annual award has come to symbolize the best and brightest of the year’s graduates throughout Pike County. The students with the highest ACT score at each of the area schools are recognized with scholarships, as are the outstanding students in the academy programs.
Scholarship winners recognized on Wednesday include Bailey Singleton, Goshen High School, winner of the Agricultural Academy Award and the first annual Betty Wagoner Community Scholarship; Diamond Pickett of Pike County High School, winner of the Business and Finance Academy Award; and Colton Johnson, winner of the “First in Flight” Academy award.
Individual school winners, who had the highest ACT scores among their class, and their honored teachers include Anna Shay Wadsen at Charles Henderson High School, with teacher Casey Moore; Shelby Styron at Goshen High School, with teacher Lanell Scholfield; Laken Maulden at Pike County High School, with teacher Mike Green; and Lee at Pike Liberal Arts, with teacher Jeremy Mathews.
“Hayes is just an outstanding young man,” said Becky Baggett, incoming chairman of the education committee and headmaster at Pike Liberal Arts School. “He is our valedictorian this year and has a 4.43 GPA.”
Lee is active throughout the school, serving as president of Excel; vice president of the Student Government Association; a leader in the baseball, football and basketball teams; and working with the Pike County Economic Development Corporation’s Co-Op program. On Wednesday, after receiving his scholarship, he spent the afternoon talking with the students at the Boys and Girls Club, Baggett said.
“He’s just jone of those students you can’t say enough good things about,” she added.
Lee, the son of Beau and Natalie Lankford, will be attending Auburn University to study chemical engineering.
In honoring Mathews, his math and Spanish teacher, Lee wrote about the influence the teacher has been on his academic career and personal development. “As a teacher, I never had anyone believe in me and understand me the way Mr. Mathews did. He never let me down and was always there to give his time and help when I needed him. He has been a role model in every sense of the word and has molded me in many ways.”
All students recognized at Wednesday’s luncheon received scholarships. The awards are funded through the Chamber’s “Let’s Eat” program, in which participating restaurants agree to donate a percentage of their sales from a particular day to the scholarship fund. Participating restaurants this year included Sister’s, Hooks BBQ, Julia’s, Milky Moos, Sips on the Square, Mikata and Chicken Salad Chick. Media partners include The Messenger, WTBF and Today in LA.
“This is an outstanding program that helps so many students in Pike County,” Baggett said. “We need everyone in Pike County to step up and help us with our Let’s Eat program so we can continue to support these students.”