David Ambler, a former Kansas University vice provost for student services, threw down a challenge to some of the area's top high school students.
"So what? What's the big deal? Who do you think you are? What's next?" Ambler asked the 10 members of the 2006 Journal-World Academic All-Star Team who had gathered for a special recognition luncheon Wednesday at the Hereford House, 4931 W. Sixth St.
He reminded the students and their parents about recent corporate scandals in the nation. Several business leaders now find themselves in trouble after promising young careers.
Now, as the all-star students aim for college, they must seek to develop character, integrity, respect for others and humility, Ambler told them.
"These are several characteristics that you better have, or life might be a little bit more difficult," he said.
The students already have long records of achievement. If they take what Ambler said to heart, they will be packing quite a punch.
All 10 students have 4.0 grade-point averages.
The winners are Eric Anderson, Ottawa High School; Carly Sakumura and Brenna Daldorph, Lawrence High School; Amanda Frederick and Boning Zhang, Free State High School; Allegra Fisher, Perry-Lecompton High School; Lilly Varner, Santa Fe Trail High School; Cody Heston, Oskaloosa High School; Megan Ballock, Eudora High School; and Lynne Lammers, Baldwin High School.
Three judges selected the winners from among 40 high school seniors nominated for the newspaper's 10th annual team based on academics, test scores, extracurricular activities, community involvement and an essay written by each on how they would spend $10 million.
Judge Tim Bengston, a Kansas University journalism professor, said the winners all turned in thoughtful essays. Their plans for the money also generally benefited others rather than themselves, he said.
"They had a perspective that was a little bit more global. Their essays were well put together, and I could tell they had fun doing it," Bengston said.
The other judges were Rand Ziegler, Baker University interim vice president and dean of the college of arts and sciences, and Robert Harrington, a KU professor in the Department of Psychology and Research in Education.
Each All-Star received a backpack and a certificate.