North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts both started classes on Monday and both had no good, very bad days but in very different ways.
The first was at Amboy Elementary where a student brought an unloaded handgun to school. That didn’t prompt a lockdown though.
District superintendent Gregory Pilewski said on Tuesday in a statement released to stakeholders and parents, "there was no immediate threat to the students and staff; therefore, there was no need to go into a lockdown.”
The other incident was at Joe T. Robinson Elementary where school safety officer Victor Montgomery was hit and killed by a distracted driver while working traffic control on Hwy. 10.
Known as “Paw-Paw,” Montgomery, above, was a former football player at Arkansas State and beloved at the school where he had worked the last seven years.
“It is imperative for motorists to slow down in school zones,” the district said in a press release announcing Montgmery’s death. “... There is absolutely no reason for any motorist to drive above the speed limit in this area any time day, much less during school drop off and pick up time. This could have been avoided if motorists were more attentive and aware of their surroundings.”
Funeral arrangements were not available as of this writing.
Chantel Moore of North Little Rock was recognized by the UA Little Rock Department of Applied Communication as one of the 2023 students who are following the department's mission of "co-creating better social worlds through positive communication."
Chantel Moore is the graduate winner of the Distinguished Student Scholar Award. Moore worked with Dr. Gerald Driskill on a grant-funded project to study foster care collaborative networks in Arkansas, which resulted in her own award-winning student expo presentation, "Mothers' relationships with their adopted teens through the lens of positive communication." "Chantel is hard-working and has shown her work ethic through class discussions, research, and her community," Driskill said. "Her goal in researching mothers and their adopted teens is to show the importance of positive communication in these relationships, spread awareness of the positive communication model, and learn about these interpersonal intricacies for adoptions/fosters in the future."
Each student award recipient received a special heart paper weight designed by UA Little Rock artist and alumni Linda Pledger, a certificate, and medallion.
Jamaica "Soliel" Myton, a senior anthropology major at UA Little Rock from North Little Rock, has been named the recipient of the 2023-24 Stonewall Scholarship.
The Stonewall Scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, an understanding of current events as they relate to the LGBT community, and a commitment to advancing LGBT civil rights in the form of demonstrated substantial leadership. This year's scholarship is $2,500.
"I feel very honored to receive the Stonewall Scholarship, a scholarship that recognizes those who are working to advance the LGBTQ community," Myton, above, said. "I am a part of the community, and I feel happy, excited, and blessed to receive the scholarship."
Dr. Laura Barrio Vilar, head of the scholarship selection committee, noted the committee members were impressed by Myton's academic achievements and commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights in Arkansas.
The 20-year-old Little Rock native works as the communications and media director for Lucie's Place, a nonprofit dedicated to helping LGBTQ young adults facing homelessness in Central Arkansas. Myton runs the nonprofit's social media accounts, creates newsletters, and helps run programs, events, and fundraisers.
Myton also serves as an intern in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the City of Little Rock, where they are working to increase the city's Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, which rates cities on anti-discrimination laws, benefits for public employees, and other factors that contribute to a positive climate for LBBTQ+ people.
"Overall, my advocacy work has been driven by my personal experiences, love for the LGBTQ+ community, and my commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all," Myton said. "I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual or gender identity."
Atreyu Austin, of North Little Rock, recently received a Master of Science degree in Recreation, Parks and Sport Management from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., during its 162nd commencement ceremonies. FSU President Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk conferred more than 550 undergraduate and graduate degrees at this May commencement.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland.
Monte Toney, of North Little Rock graduated from Avila University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts Studies from Avila University during the May 13, 2023 commencement exercises.
Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community. Toney was also named to the university’s Spring 2023 Dean's List. To qualify, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher and the school is in Kansas City.
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