Current, past RHS Students of the Year have desire to serve

Front, left to right, Joanna Ham and Jason Willis. Back, left to right, Hana Le and Amanda Meng.

By Lloyd Bruner

The past four Students of the Year (SOY) at Ruston High School (RHS) and for Lincoln Parish shared many common interests, were in many common organizations and had a desire to serve. Two common organizations that they all shared had a huge influence in their selections: all were officers in the RHS Future Business Leaders of America, and all served as editor-in-chief of RHS school newspaper, Chatterbox, “The Voice of Ruston High.” Each reflected on what they had in common that also set them apart.  

2018-2019  Joanna Ham

“When I initially joined FBLA, I had no idea how the decision would go on to shape my life, being the single greatest factor in determining my college path and eventually my career goals. During my time in FBLA, I served in multiple leadership positions and went on to be the editor in chief of Chatterbox. Furthermore, throughout these organizations, I always made it my goal to help as many people as I could whether it be a through mentoring a new member or raising funds to aid a patient at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Undoubtedly, this passion for service is the greatest gift the organization granted me, allowing me the ability to serve both students at my school and the members of my community.”

2019-2020  Amanda Meng

“One of my biggest regrets in high school was that waited until my sophomore year to join FBLA as I had initially refused to join because I believed it to be solely for people interested in business. However, RHS FBLA’s emphasis on community service and leadership made it a crucial part of my high school experience and helped me develop confidence in my ability to pursue my goals. The role pf president of RHS FBLA and editor in chief of the Chatterbox were also responsibilities that helped me develop a sense of organization and the ability to communicate with others. These were traits that carried over to other extracurriculars I participated in and undoubtedly contributed to my selection  as Lincoln Parish Student of the Year.”

2020-2021  Hana Le

“As one of the seven finalists for Louisiana’s 2021 High School Student of the Year, I am incredibly grateful for the skills, opportunities, and confidence that came with being involved in my high school extracurriculars: FBLA, Speech and Debate, the Louisiana Youth Advisory Council, and Chatterbox, among others. Of all my high school commitments, however, being a student leader in FBLA at the local, state, and national levels was by far the most impactful – teaching me how to communicate with purpose, giving me the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life, expand my perspective on what equity in education and the next generation means, and showing me how to best advocate for others. The skills I gained in FBLA aided me tremendously during the written and interview portions of the Student of the Year process. I currently attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which is the # 1 Business School in the world. I have the opportunities I came across and the people I met at Ruston High to thank for supporting me through it all.”

2021-2022  Jason Willis

“I am honored to continue the line of success that has come through RHS and through the FBLA chapter. I worked with Amanda in Chatterbox and FBLA, and with Hana as well on the debate team with her as the captain for a year. Joanna has advised me throughout my FBLA career. I have gotten to know and learn from all three of them in one way or another. That makes it even more special for me that I am following them as Student of the Year.”

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