Representing their state

Two students recognized for achievements


Photo by submitted photo

Superintendent Paul Norton, junior Rylie Power, senior Kip Williams, stand with U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe, accepting Congressional awards.

Story by Tyler Snell, Print editor-in-chief

The students clap and cheer as two of their peers walk to the stage to accept awards. Students stand in ovation and the two recognized beam with pride.

Junior Rylie Power and senior Kip Williams received Congressional awards Monday from Congressman John Ratcliffe at the John Thomas Performing Arts Center. Power won the Congressional Art Competition amidst hundreds of high schools, and Williams received appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy after being nominated by Ratcliffe.

“It’s a massive honor because there are hundreds and thousands of people who sign up for it,” Power said. “The fact that I won first is crazy.”

Power spent the summer before freshman year working on the masterpiece by using a Sharpie to make thousands of tiny dots turn into a photo.

“It took from 80 to 100 hours doing it,” Power said. “It’s a big deal. It’s very shocking.”

Power’s artwork will hang in the United States Capitol for the next year, and Power was awarded a trip to take part in the national ceremony this summer. Williams felt that everything fell into place for his appointment to the Academy.

“When I looked at the Academy, visited, saw their football [team] and everything like that and got offered to play football there, I decided to [do it,]” Williams said. “It wasn’t as known to me or this area, but when I saw everything and took into account all the different things, I accepted it and wanted to go there.”

Devoting his time to serve the country and obtain a longed for skill is also a reason why Williams committed to play football at and attend the Academy located in Kings Point, New York.

“I wanted to do something I’ve always wanted to do, which is to fly, and this gives me a good opportunity to do that,” Williams said. “Another thing is to serve my country, and it’s good to be honored for all the things I do and all the things I’ve wanted to do.”

Ratcliffe feels that the success stories of these two students should be attributed to the school and the learning environment it fosters not just to the students.

“I wanted to be here to celebrate their individual achievements but [also] recognize that there is a great learning environment here,” Ratcliffe said. “They have it in their homes, and they have it here at the school because it’s not a coincidence that you have two students from this high school both excelling against competition among hundreds in some cases thousands of their peers.”

Ratcliffe also said that these achievements will become tools to use for the rest of Williams’ and Power’s lives.
“I think in each of their cases, the success that they have accomplished here, competing at the highest level, will be something that will create opportunities for them,” Ratcliffe said. “But [it] will also instill in each one of them the confidence that they will have the rest of their lives to be able to draw upon whatever fields they ultimately choose to dedicate themselves to.”