Morrilton senior named 'Youth Citizen of the Year'

by Sonja J. Keith

Mikayla Hopkins has been lending a helping hand in her community for years, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce recently named her the 2012 Youth Citizen of the Year.

“I’ve always volunteered with my church,” Mikayla said. “They focus a lot on community service.”

Mikayla recalls that when she was younger her mother would take her to the library for events like story time. As she got older, she was asked to help with the teen program. Her volunteer work eventually led to a part-time job but Mikayla still volunteers. “I like being around kids.”

Another activity that she enjoys is tutoring third-graders as part of the “Devil Dogs Helping Hands” program that Morrilton High seniors can participate in. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I absolutely love it.”

Mikayla also volunteers with the Rialto Community Arts Center, helping with backstage production, like lighting and set design. She also volunteered over the summer to help with a kids program. “We teach younger kids about theater so they can get involved when they get older.”

Ranked No. 1 in her class, Mikayla said it can be challenging to manage her studies with her community service. She averages eight to 12 hours a week volunteering.

“That’s where the challenge comes in,” she said. “It can get pretty difficult at times.”

Citing her love for math and science, Mikayla would like to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to pursue a pharmacy career. She chose that field because of its flexible hours and her desire to raise a family.

Mikayla was nominated for the chamber award by her English teacher, Cody Vest. “Mikayla exemplifies the true definition of school spirit. She participates in a wide variety of activities at Morrilton High School. She is very involved in Beta Club, Library Club and Math Club to name a few. I have seen her great dedication and involvement in these activities,” wrote the teacher. “Furthermore, she goes beyond the school to help out in our community. She does all of these activities while still maintaining a 4.0 grade average. I have been fortunate enough to have Mikayla in class this year; consequently, I have been able to see firsthand how conscientious, intelligent and hard working she is.”

Mikayla said she was surprised to learn she had been selected for the chamber award. “I was excited and kind of proud of myself.”

Mikayla Faith Hopkins

City: Morrilton.

School: Senior at Morrilton High School.

Favorite subject: Chemistry.

What do you enjoy most at school: Playing French horn in the Devil Dog Band.

Career plans: Pharmacist.

Community activities: Conway County Library Teen Action Group (TAG), Rialto Community Arts Center, Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and church service projects.

Church: Attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Morrilton.

Family: Parents, John and Patricia Hopkins; brother, John (13); and sister, Carolyn (11).

Honors: Governor’s School, Arkansas Girls State, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference and Rotarian Youth Leadership Award.

Who do you admire the most: My mother because she’s loyal. She cheers me on even when I fail.

Favorite meal: Fettuccini alfredo with shrimp, homemade garlic bread, salad and German Chocolate Cake.

Most cherished possession: Spray painting I got from a street vendor in New York City.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Being silly with my friends whether we’re at band contests, working on projects or just hanging out.

Favorite quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better it’s not.” – Dr. Seuss.

Favorite place in Arkansas: My Grandma and Papa Parks’ house when all the family is gathered together.