by Max Brantley
Top graduates of the Little Rock School District were honored today at a Governor's Mansion event sponsored by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock, Create Little Rock and Centennial Bank.
79 students were honored for having a straight-A average; being one of the top four students in a senior class, or being recognized as a National Merit, National Achievement or National Hispanic top scorer.
This year, 35 of the 79 honored students (44%) have chosen to attend Arkansas colleges and universities, including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Harding University, Hendrix College, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas Tech University, Lyon College, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and University of Central Arkansas.
Others plan to attend some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including Columbia, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, University of Chicago and Yale.
According to Buckley O'Mell of Flake & Kelley Commercial, chairman of the Chamber’s Create Little Rock talent and young professional initiative, the key to economic development is the retention, attraction and development of talent.
"We are thrilled that 44 of the top 79 graduates of the Little Rock School District have chosen to continue their education in Arkansas," O'Mell said. "And our wish is that all who choose to study out of state will eventually return to Arkansas so we may better compete in the global economy."
I wish the same. And wish that opportunities, pay and legal and political climate would help make that happen.