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The Collins High School Auditorium was packed Thursday night with students, teachers, administrators and parents, all beaming with pride as scholarship after scholarship was announced, for a record total of $2,157,700.
“We were thrilled,” Collins Principal John Leeper said after the 3-hour ceremony.
“We challenged them at the beginning at the year to try to break one and a half million, and they heard us loud and clear and began applying early, and I think that was the key,” he said.
Distinguished guests, including the school’s namesake, Martha Layne Collins, who presented the Linda D. Taylor Scholarship to William Baker Stanton, bestowed everything from scholarships and grants to class awards.
Scholarships flew thick and fast from many sectors, including civic groups, universities, banks, churches and private groups.
The long lines of students that came up to the stage to be recognized for graduating with honors such as Cum Laude (3.5 to 3.7 GPA), Magna Cum Laude (3.7 to 41.) and Suma Cum Laude (4.1 and above) were impressive and contained many of the same faces that had been appearing on stage all evening.
Many students took several honors and won several scholarships, including Brianna Robinson, who was named Best All Around Female by the Kiwanis Club, Spencer Hammond, who was named Best All Around Male by the Rotary Club, Sarah Eades, and sisters Marysa and Miranda Maier.
These students, and several others, also scored above 30 on the ACT and were named Suma Cum Laude.
Josh Rice and Jordan Goss, in addition to receiving several scholarships, took top honors in ROTC, including awards for distinguished cadet and superior cadet, respectively.
Miranda Maier was named Valedictorian, Marysa Maier and Abby Munsterman were named Salutatorian.
Leeper told the students to take advantage of the opportunities they had been given.
“Just be sure you use every cent of your scholarship money to do the very best you can to make the world a better place,” he said.