While they have different interests, these 10 area high school seniors have at least two things in common: smarts and perseverance.
Call them "success stories."
Haskell Indian Nations University President Linda Sue Warner said the 10 members of the Journal-World's 2008 Academic All-Star team have undoubtedly heard those encouraging words before from parents and teachers.
The 2008 team members are Brooke Sutherland, Bishop Seabury Academy; Marianne Schroer, Baldwin High School; Brandon Hawks, Oskaloosa High School; Connor Hartpence and Kayci Vickers, Eudora High School; Hannah Frydman and Wesley Phipps, Free State High School; Isaac Fisher, Perry-Lecompton High School; Stephanie Drahozal, Lawrence High School; and Jake Bontrager, Tonganoxie High School.
After Wednesday's luncheon, each student also received a backpack for college and a gift from Haskell.
Twenty-five students from area high schools were nominated by administrators and teachers, and three judges selected the winners. The Journal-World started the annual event in 1997.
This year's selection criteria included the students' academic achievements and accomplishments in extracurricular activities. They also wrote an essay on the subject of advancements in technology causing some people to avoid direct human contact.
As a guest speaker during Wednesday's luncheon at Maceli's, 1031 N.H., Warner gave the students advice on how to keep up their success in college, including staying in good health.
"You need to be careful what you put in your mind and what you put in your body," she said.
Warner also stressed the importance of celebrating their successes with others.
"You bring honor to the entire community," she said.
The three judges were Austin Turney, a former Lawrence school board member; Rand Ziegler, vice president and dean of Baker University's College of Arts and Sciences; and Robert Harrington, a Kansas University professor in the department of psychology and research in education.
"What blew me away was the diversity with this high-end group and how they responded to the (essay) question," Ziegler said.
Harrington said the 2008 team also represented several area schools.
"Our schools are doing a good job at getting them ready for top-notch universities," he said.