Manila senior named in top six in state

Monday, January 5, 2004
Michelle Eubanks was presented a bronze medal for being named one of the state's top 10 2003 Wendy's Heisman award winners. Pictured are, from left: Rick Schaeffer, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Mark Rushing, KARK-TV Channel 4; Eubanks, and Jeff Voskamp, Wendy's of Arkansas. (photo provided)

Manila senior Michelle Eubanks was recently named in the top six in the state for the 2003 Wendy's High School Heisman award. Michelle was one of 20 Arkansas high school seniors honored Nov. 30 at the Wendy's High School Heisman Awards Presentation held at the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.

Rick Schaeffer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mark Rusing, sports director at KARK-TV Channel 4, were the special guests and speakers for the event, which recognized some of the states' top students in scholastics, athletics and community service.

The Wendy's High School Heisman honorees also attended the University of Arkansas's basketball game against Jackson State after the banquet.

Sarah Mardanlou of Van Buren and Burt Hicks of Hot Springs were honored as the state winners of this year's program. Burt Hicks was also named a national Heisman finalist and traveled to New York City for ceremonies on Dec. 12.

Michelle was nominated through the school in September and advanced to the state finalist level.

The guidelines for nominees are based on academic achievements, athletic accomplishments and community service participation. Ten males and ten females per state are named state finalists and each receive a bronze medal and a congratulatory letter from the National Association of Secondary School principals. One male and one female per state receive a silver medal. In the national finalist status six males and six females in the country receive gold medals, $1,000 for their high school and advance to the national competition in New York City. Only one male and one female in the country receive a crystal trophy and $2,500 for their high school.

Nominees must have at least a 3.0 grade point average, participate in at least one of 32 sports officially sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations and be active in their community.

Michelle said she felt honored to be in the top six of the state.

"The state winners were very deserving of the award," Michelle said.

Michelle is an honor student with a 3.8 grade point average. She is a member of the Manila High School golf team and Lady Lion basketball team. Michelle was instrumental in forming girl's golf at Manila during her sophomore year. She made all state and regional medalist her first year. During her junior year she won Regional and qualified for All State and finished fourth overall. She won district and qualified for all state during her senior year. She has played basketball since her elementary years.

In addition to her academics and sports, she is very active in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) where she serves as president in her local club as well as State President. She served as state vice president during her junior year. She is also a member of VCY, FCA, Beta Club, Science Club, FTA, FCCLA, and serves as second vice president of the 2003-04 senior class. She was also named Who's Who Among American High School Students for three consecutive years.

Her future plans include continuing her education in the medical field. She has applied to the University of Missouri in Kansas City for the six year medical program to study and become an anesthesiologist. She hopes to hear from that soon.

"I appreciate being nominated from our high school," Michelle said. "I also appreciate the support I have received from everyone throughout my high school years."

Michelle is the daughter of Brad and Tonia Eubanks of Manila.

Other students honored as state top 20, male and female, finalists included Nick Bahash of Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Laura Gaskins of Izard County High School in Horseshoe Bend, Sirron Guinn of Sheridan High School, James Halitzka of Acorn High School in Mena, Burt Hicks of Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs, Jessica Hill of Rector High School, Ashley Hufstedler of Walnut Ridge High School, Grant Jackson of Corssett High School, Blake Johnson of Watson Chapel High School, Blake Ligon of Marvell Academy in Poplar Grove, Lascelles Lyn-Cook of Hall High School in Little, Rock, Sarah Mardanlou of Van Buren High School, Keelen Newsom of Greene County Tech in Paragould, Blake Perkins of Lynn High School in Smithville, Rachel Rowe of Greene County Tech High School in Paragould, Ashley Sherrill of Dumas High School, David Tipton of Drew Central High School in Dermott, Ashley Wiechman of Valley View High School in Jonesboro, Lauren Wilson of Carlisle High School.

Jeff Voskamp, Chief Operation Officer of Fourjay, L.L.C., which owns the Wendy's Restaurants in Arkansas, said, "We are proud to honor the students who were selected as Wendy's High School Heisman state finalists in Arkansas. Being named a state finalist in this program is a great honor. The families, teachers, classmates and communities of this year's finalists should be very proud of them for this accomplishment."

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