HHS senior tapped as Presidential Scholar; bids opened for work on district schools


Hattiesburg High School senior Owen Sayre is one of only 76 Mississippi students nominated to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar, a program established in 1964 by executive order of the U.S. President to honor and recognize some of the nation's top graduating high school seniors.

Nominees will be evaluated based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities and quality and content of a submitted essay. Semifinalists will be announced in April, with finalists identified in May. Those selected to be one of the 161 chosen for the award will be invited to Washington, D.C. in June to receive a Presidential Scholars Medallion and participate in events and activities associated with the program.

"I'm incredibly honored to be selected as a nominee for this national award," Sayre said. "While hard work certainly played into it, I believe our school's commitment to fostering academic excellence led to this nomination."

Sayre participates in forensics, soccer, and dual enrollment programs at HHS. He recently earned the school's Student Teacher Achievement Recognition student designation, which goes to the student with the highest ACT score at each Mississippi high school.

­At the February meeting of the Hattiesburg Public School District Board of Trustees meeting, bids were opened for work on schools in the district that will be funded with more than $20 million as a result of the renewal of ad valorem (property) taxes approved overwhelmingly by voters in the district last year. Hattiesburg Schools Superintendent Robert Williams said among those schools includes HHS and Rowan Elementary, with HHS seeing the construction of new classrooms, renovations to the campus gymnasium and the addition of security equipment. Rowan will also have renovations to its gym, renovation of restrooms, and improvements to lighting and its bus drop-off site, Williams said. Work on mechanical infrastructure at the two schools will be completed in a separate project.

• Parents and guardians of students are encouraged to attend remaining 3rd grade literacy parent meetings at 8 a.m. Feb. 18 at Grace Christian Elementary; 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Thames Elementary; 5 p.m. Feb. 21 at Woodley Elementary; and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 and 7:30 p.m. March 28 at Rowan Elementary .. 

• The Board of Trustees recognized the district's Administrator of the Year, Grace Elementary School Principal Vanessa Lofton; and Teacher of the Year Julie Arender, at its February meeting. Arender teaches Spanish at HHS.

• The district will hold a job fair March 2 from 8 a.m. - noon at district offices, located at 301 Mamie Street. Contact district offices at (601) 582-5078.

• The board of trustees will hold its March meeting on Tuesday, March 5 at 6 p.m., due to spring break occurring the following week, at the board room located at 301 Mamie Street.