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Lance Ward (from left), Lillian Towe and Autumn Shelton

Editor's note: The Joplin Globe will spotlight students on its 2020 All-Area Academic Excellence Team weekdays through June 5.

Lance Ward

• School: Carl Junction High School.

• Planned career field: Undecided.

• Long-range goals: I hope that I can find a field of study that I am passionate about in college. At the moment, I have many interests that span a broad swath of academia. Once I know what I want to pursue as a career, I will strive to affect the greatest positive impact on others as I can with my time.

• Advice to freshmen for academic success: Aim for the moon with your goals and aspirations for the future; even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars. The only limit on what you can do and accomplish is imposed by you. If you want it, go and get it. Most importantly, remember to build strong relationships with your friends and teachers; they will support you throughout your journey.

• Parents: Mick and Paula Ward.

• Inspiring educator: Mr. Terry Higgins has had a profound impact on my academic career in high school. His dual-credit U.S. history and psychology classes are among the toughest in the school, but tough isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Mr. Higgins’ classes have taught me how to efficiently study for the huge, heavily weighted exams typically only seen in college courses. He has kept me accountable and disciplined with engaging essay prompts and unit PowerPoints that push me to do more in-depth research than ever before.

I am grateful for the learning skills I have developed while taking his classes. I know that I will be able to put them to use next year in college. Not only has Mr. Higgins motivated me to become the best version of myself in the classroom, he has also challenged me to excel in our community and beyond. By sending me to the Missouri Public Affairs Academy and putting me up for the Missouri Award for Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship, I have learned how to lead through service.

Mr. Higgins has taught me that leaving a positive impact on the world is a noble calling indeed. I can’t wait to get started.

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Lillian Towe

• School: Carthage High School.

• Planned career field: Political science and French.

• Long-range goals: After graduating from Notre Dame, I hope to attend graduate school at Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Sciences) in Paris, France, to earn my master’s in international relations. I will spend my junior year of undergrad at Sciences Po through a Notre Dame program, and I should be nearly bilingual upon graduating, which will prepare me to live in France full time. I plan to stay in France and apply for dual citizenship after five years. I am interested in exploring career opportunities in Dakar, Senegal, on behalf of the French government. (Specific opportunities are offered for American immigrants.)

• Advice to freshmen for academic success: Do stuff. Be involved. Meet as many people as possible and take advantage of every opportunity your school has to offer. Also, get some sleep.

• Parent: Amanda Clark.

• Inspiring educator: No teacher has inspired, challenged and motivated me more than Ms. Rachel Beckett. I had the privilege of being her French student for three years. During this time, she pushed me to do more than the bare minimum. She had very high expectations for me, but ones she knew I could meet. Her class was instrumental in preparing me to travel to France, something I could not have done without her advice and guidance.

Beyond French, she has held me accountable for my work in other classes, pushing me to succeed in every subject, extracurricular and activity I’m involved in. Ms. Beckett has brought the best in me not only as a student, but as a person. My sophomore year, she and I founded PEACE Club, which stands for People Everywhere Are Created Equal, as an anti-bullying alliance. Through this club, we’ve worked to make Carthage a more welcoming place for minorities and allies.

“La B” is a shining example of the impact a teacher can have on a student both inside and outside the classroom. Ms. Beckett is an incredible teacher, mentor and ally, and I could not be more blessed to know her.

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Autumn Shelton

• School: Lamar High School.

• Planned career field: Law or mass media.

• Long-range goals: My five-year goal is to graduate from Princeton University and either attend law or grad school. Further down the line, I intend to either be a journalist or lawyer and hopefully one day be in government office representing rural America.

• Advice to freshmen for academic success: Make time for what truly makes you happy and remember that the college you attend or your job doesn’t define you.

• Parents: Stephen and Teresa Shelton.

• Inspiring educator: Whether it be her years in Namibia as a Peace Corps worker to her decision to go skydiving, Ms. Angela Schneider isn’t what you would call your typical English teacher. In fact, she is so much better. The way she teaches goes beyond any instructor I have ever had, including college professors. Yes, she is compassionate and well spoken, but what truly sets her apart is her ability to truly analyze a student and their work and give accurate constructive criticism for both.

Ms. Schneider also is never afraid of change. She is willing to adapt as needed. She knows when a student needs help and is one of the few educators in my life who I truly believe wants to make a real impact with her students. Most importantly, Ms. Schneider has made me believe that I can actually do more with my life than what is expected, and I will never forget her for that.

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