Exceptional Exemplars

NOTE: You can find this blog entry and more stories from around the Initiative in the upcoming issue of EAST Quarterly, available Dec. 1 at https://issuu.com/eastquarterly.



Matt Dozier, CEO and President
The EAST Initiative

In 2009 we quietly started a special program to recognize outstanding EAST students who might not necessarily get recognized in very public ways. We call them Exemplars, and the recognition is pretty straightforward. Exemplar is a 10-cent word that means “a person serving as an excellent model.” So, when a staff member or member of EAST’s Board of Directors sees an outstanding EAST student out in the field — in school or at a public presentation — they take them aside and present them with a special coin to acknowledge the great job they are doing. We think it’s a nice way to show our appreciation to students who are modeling the very best of EAST in the real world.


The times I’ve been privileged to recognize an Exemplar I have told them, “This is a small token of appreciation and a tradition we started a few years back. As an old English teacher, I’m going to ask you to look up the word ‘exemplar’ because you are one. I’m also going to tell you that I want you to hold on to this, and every time you see it I want you to remember that you impressed a lot of people today, and I can’t wait to see where you go from here.”

dsc_0676I’m always delighted by this little exchange because of the reaction I see in students. Invariably they respond with a mixture of confusion (“what is going on here, exactly?”), pride (“I know I did something special”), and excitement (“this is pretty cool!”). Not only do I get this reaction, but I’ve witnessed it from across the room seeing one of these rare coins being awarded. Like I said, it’s a quiet, special kind of thing that makes for a very good day.

This is not an everyday occurrence, though. Students must set themselves apart in order to earn this recognition, and that’s a challenge when there are so many impressive students in EAST. Becoming an Exemplar means clearing a high bar, which is why we only recently handed out the 100th coin. That means that, in last seven years, we’ve awarded fewer than 15 each year on average among thousands of EAST students.



Many of our Exemplars have gone on to college or the workforce. Some of those we’ve kept up with through the EAST Alumni Association; others have yet to let us know where they’ve landed. And of course, a few are still working their way toward high school graduation. Regardless, they all share one special thing in common: on the day they received their Exemplar coin, they were one of the best students in the world, not just in EAST. They deserve congratulations, so you’ll find all of them listed below.

_MG_0540.JPGNow, given the fact that we’ve been at this for years and dozens of people have been involved in awarding and recording Exemplar recognitions, there’s a chance we may have missed some of these outstanding students. That would be a shame. So, if that’s happened, we want to correct it. If you know a name that should be on this list but isn’t, please let me know. If you have stories to share about some of these very special students, please share those with me, too. We love this tradition and look forward to meeting the next hundred EAST Exemplars.

Student Name School Year Awarded
1 Ethan Abel Hot Springs Intermediate School 2016
2 Avery Alpe Wilson Intermediate School (Malvern) 2011
3 Kellie Armstrong Cross County High School 2012
4 Henry Beard III North Pulaski High School 2010
5 Sam Bennett Mann Magnet Middle School 2009
6 John Berkshire Bryant High School 2013
7 Eric Beza Bryant High School 2013
8 Audrye Blankenship Kiamichi Technology Centers – Talihina 2011
9 Sawyer Boone North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2011
10 Seth Britney Vilonia High School 2012
11 Tayler Broach Wickes High School 2009
12 Joey Brodnax White Hall High School 2012
13 Carter Brown Russellville High School 2009
14 John Caldwell Arkadelphia High School 2012
15 Riley Carraway Batesville Middle School 2011
16 Trenton Cason Greenwood High School 2013
17 Madeleine Chrisman Ozark Middle School 2011
18 Logan Clairborne Beebe Jr. High School 2011
19 Caitlin Cothern Annie Camp Jr. High (Jonesboro) 2010
20 Chase Cray North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2013
21 Whitney Crouch Ozark Middle School 2011
22 Savi Davidson Harrison Jr. High School 2016
23 Lacy Diston Greenbrier High School 2010
24 Lucas Dorrough Dardanelle High School 2011
25 Sara Earnhart Greenwood High School 2013
26 Tyler Elmore Jacksonville Middle School 2012
27 Filaberto Escamilla Monticello High School 2010
28 Jake Flood Batesville Middle School 2011
29 Asher Franke The University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2015
30 Mackenzie Frederick Robinson Middle School (Pulaski County School District) 2015
31 Anslynn Garner Greenwood High School 2011
32 Abby Gates Clinton High School 2009
33 Lola George MacArthur Middle School (Jonesboro) 2012
34 Sean Gilden Vilonia High School 2012
35 Kaley Harlson Harrisburg High School 2009
36 Kaylyn Harrison Dumas High School 2009
37 David Harrison Fountain Lake High School 2011
38 Anna Heringer Batesville High School 2013
39 Kennedy Hill MacArthur Middle School (Jonesboro) 2012
40 Noah Holt North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2013
41 Hailie Jackson Bald Knob Schools 2013
42 Darius Jarrett Bryant High School 2013
43 Daniel Johnson Sylvan Hills High School 2009
44 Kate Jones MacArthur Middle School (Jonesboro) 2012
45 Tyler Jones Jacksonville Middle School 2013
46 Blane Keen North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2013
47 Austin Kelley Malvern Jr. High School 2011
48 Kassandra King Ozark Middle School 2011
49 Kye Kocher Harrisburg Middle School 2015
50 DeLena Lattimore North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2013
51 Jessica Lavin Har-Ber High School (Springdale) 2009
52 Michael Leiterman Forrest Heights Middle School 2011
53 Kristin Long Harrisburg High School 2010
54 Mackenzie Mallett Greenbrier High School 2010
55 Aaron Maxey Sylvan Hills High School 2009
56 Christina McAllister North Little Rock High School – West Campus 2013
57 Kylie Miller Sonora Elementary School (Springdale) 2014
58 Remington Miller Robinson High School (Pulaski County School District) 2014
59 Shanoa Miller The University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2010
60 CJ Morgan Dumas High School 2009
61 Kaliah Morton North Little Rock High School – West Campus 2013
62 Hayden Nix Rison High School 2010
63 Aaron Osborn Northeast Technology Center – Claremore 2011
64 Ann Paul Malvern High School 2012
65 Parker Payne Beebe Middle School 2011
66 Elea Pulliam MacArthur Middle School 2012
67 Elmore Quist Bauxite Schools 2012
68 Rodrigo Ramirez Dumas High School 2009
69 Nathan Rappold Vilonia High School 2012
70 Erin Richards Vilonia High School 2012
71 Chase Robinson Greenbrier High School 2016
72 Sierra Rohauer Beebe Middle School 2011
73 Kelsey Rood Malvern Jr. High 2011
74 Jessica Roy England High School 2012
75 Brenden Ryan Vilonia High School 2012
76 Zainab Shah Brinkley MIddle School 2014
77 Caleb Shatser North Little Rock High School 2012
78 Gabrielle Sisk Ozark Middle School 2011
79 Alyssa Smith College Hill IB Elementary (Texarkana) 2009
80 Brenna Smith Fordyce High School 2016
81 Brandon Stephenson Kiamichi Technology Centers – Talihina 2013
82 Micah Thomas Russellville High School 2009
83 Christopher Toller Clinton High School 2016
84 Kristen Torres Bald Knob Schools 2013
85 Rikki Vaughn Sonora Elementary School (Springdale) 2014
86 Kevin Walker Conway High School 2013
87 Jordan Washburn Conway High School 2013
88 Elizabeth Washington Brinkley Middle School 2014
89 Emily Watkins Beebe Jr. High School 2011
90 Imani Watson Brinkley High School 2014
91 Leann Westbrook Blevins High School 2011
92 Clayton Weyl Prairie Grove Middle School 2013
93 Frednesha Whiting North Little Rock High School – West Campus 2013
94 Spencer Whitley Centerpointe High School 2009
95 Layne Wilson Robinson Middle School (Pulaski County School District) 2015
96 Kaitlyn Witt Conway High School 2013
97 Kaitlyn Woodward North Little Rock High School – East Campus 2011
98 Krista Woodward Bryant High School 2013
99 Katie Wright Clinton High School 2016
100 Amma Yates Robinson Middle School (Pulaski County School District) 2015
This entry was posted in EAST®, Letters from the President/CEO, Matt Dozier, Uncategorized, What is EAST? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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