Student wins Sophomore of the Year award


Evan Bewersdorf

Junior Mattison Payne in her U.S. History class. She is an avid student who works diligently in class.

Junior Mattison Payne was selected by the Kiwanis Club to receive the Sophomore of the Year award.  She won overall in the Texas-Oklahoma district.

“After winning locally, [Matti’s] application was then submitted to our Division 34, where she was also declared the winner,” Robert Brewster, lieutenant governor of the Texas-Oklahoma district Kiwanis Club, said. “This is quite an achievement as the competition at this level increases.  It is considered an immense accomplishment to win in this category.”

To receive the award, Payne had to first be selected by her teachers to be eligible, then she had to submit an essay in which she  answered specific questions.  Brewster stated that the questions ranged from club and organization membership, to scholastic performance, to an individual’s  community service.

“I think it goes beyond being a good student,” senior Peyton Mizell said.  “I think sophomore of the year has to do about who you are as a student, and how you treat other people.  “She is also very caring, and works very hard at making , and maintaining, good relationships with students at the school.”

Her scholastic abilities are one of the main reasons why she was selected for this award. Her performance in class garnered support from teachers, which – in turn – caused her to be eligible for the award.

“Matti is a really intelligent student, and she is really expressive and very passionate about the things that we are doing,” teacher Rory McKenzie said. “She’s always trying to be creative, and she’s a lot of fun.”

Payne will receive a $1,500 scholarship from the Hideaway Lake Kiwanis Club, plus an additional $600 for winning the Texas-Oklahoma district. This award is recognized by a myriad of universities and colleges.

“Honestly, I was a little shocked, because there were so many good candidates for this award,” Mattison Payne said. “I was really humbled and honored.”

The Kiwanis Club began giving out the award in 1987 to recognize excellence in high school sophomores. Those who receive it exemplify what it takes to truly be an excellent student.

“Matti won sophomore of the year because she is an outgoing student who is compassionate about her classmates, who does her work, and who doesn’t bring excuses,” McKenzie said. “She is the type of student that every teacher wants to have.”