Piggott High ALE Student Wins State Award

Thursday, February 28, 2019
PHS student Katlyn Parrish (center) with the award she recently received in Little Rock. She's joined by Piggott High staff members, from left: Karen Coomer, Melissa Hopkins and Jon Wellman. Hopkins nominated Parrish for the award while Coomer and Wellman serve as instructors in the school's ALE program.
TD photo/Kelsey McKenney

Wednesday, Feb. 13, marked Leadership Day at the Arkansas State Capitol. Each year, alternative education teachers from across the state nominate students they believe have made significant amounts of growth and improvement in both academic and social skills. Out of 33 applications, the Alternative Education Board chose 15 students to receive the Diamond Award and 17-year-old PHS junior Katlyn Parrish was among them.

Melissa Hopkins, an eighth grade math teacher as well as assistant volleyball and softball coach, nominated Katlyn. Hopkins explained that she nominated Katlyn because “[Katlyn] has been an inspiration to [her].” She further explains that young lady has faced adversity in her life, but “was resilient when it came to getting her life back in order after a setback last year.” Hopkins shared that she spent a great deal of time worrying about Katlyn's welfare, as her grades began to drop and she struggled to stay awake during classes. Hopkins added she did not want Katlyn to drop out and “be a child who fell through the cracks.”

Hopkins spoke with pride about her progress, adding, “this school year, Katlyn has blossomed into a model student. She is extremely self-conscious of her academic progress and strives to do her best. This hard work has earned her a spot on the Honor Roll for her first semester for all A's and B's. She was also on a team to help organize a luncheon for community leaders that was hosted by Inspiration academy.”

Now, Katlyn babysits a two-year-old after school and during summer months. She is a part of the Inspiration Academy and has plans to attend college and attain a degree in nursing. Her grandmother was a nurse, and inspired her to pursue the same career. She also aided in the alternative education department's garden tower, helping nurture and grow green peppers.

After Hopkins was informed the student had been selected for a Diamond Award, she sneakily wrote a brief background on Katlyn, as well as attained a picture to be used in the Student Diamond Award Winners booklet.

PHS teachers Jon Wellman, Karen Coomer and Melissa Hopkins all expressed their exceeding pride in Katlyn's success, not only with the award, but also her academic and social success.

Coomer expressed her excitement and joy concerning the annual Diamond Award event by adding, “this event highlights students who have struggled in the classroom due to outside circumstances beyond their control. Therefore, it gives students a chance to be recognized for their hard work they have put in to overcome the adversities in their lives as well as to remain and thrive in school at such a young age.”

Piggott Superintendent Barry DeHart offered of the situation, “a lot of kids would not make it without help from the alternative education department. Karen Coomer and Jon Wellman do a very good job.”

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