Anya Thompson named the Kiwanis’ Sophomore of the Year


Anya Thompson receives her award for her accomplishment as Sophomore of the Year.

Jaden Scamehorn, Staff Writer

Junior Anya Thompson was honored to hear her name called as the “Sophomore of the Year,” a title given by Kiwanis International, a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.

“I was totally surprised when they called my name and told me I won. Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Wilhoite knew about it but kept it from me until the winner was announced,” Thompson said.

Both Beth Lewis and Amy Wilhoite have a very close relationship with Thompson, both having taught her.

“Anya was my student for two years. I had her for Pre-AP Biology and AP Biology. I am the Key Club sponsor and she has been both a member and officer, so we have a good relationship,” Willhoite said. 

The Key Club is a volunteer organization at Edmond Memorial High school that is focused on giving back to the community in any way they can.

“Anya winning this award shows how the Key Club program is growing and providing the leadership opportunities needed to produce recipients of national level awards,” Wilhoite said. “Anya is so deserving of this award. She works hard to give back to her community.”

The road to success was very tedious, as Kiwanis uses a very rigorous process to make sure they select a deserving winner.

“At the end of my sophomore year I applied through Kiwanis, I had to fill out an application provided by them,” Thompson said. “I had to write essays and answer tons of questions.” 

The application then goes through a panel in Oklahoma, and Kiwanis board members choose a winner. Once chosen in Oklahoma, it goes through both Oklahoma and Texas, and the winner between the two states is finally selected. 

“I received a 600 dollar scholarship as a reward for winning. All I have to do is show proof of the college I am attending, and I will receive it,” Thompson said.

Acquiring recognition in such a prestigious way is an amazing honor to not only Thompson, but Edmond Memorial High School as well.

Anya winning this award sets the standard of excellence and dedication for high school students in our community. Anya is so well deserving of this award. I couldn’t be more proud or happier for her,” Lewis said.

This past year with the pandemic was a very rough year for many, so being able to shine amidst all the chaos and challenges Thompson faced is extraordinary. 

“Winning this award means so much to me. It really proves all the hard work I’ve done. It definitely paid off,” Thopmson said. “One of the major reasons I won Sophomore of the Year was for the phrase, ‘not being afraid to fail.’ 2020 has been a series of failures, and having to work through that was very tough. But the fact I was able to overcome all these challenges and obstacles means a lot.”

Thompson being named “Sophomore of the Year” will not only have a lasting impact on her, but will leave a mark on the students at Memorial forever.

Contact Jaden Scamehorn @[email protected]