The Arkadelphia High School Class of 2017 were challenged to stay “L.I.T.” during Wednesday’s Arkadelphia Promise Signing Day.

The Arkadelphia High School Class of 2017 were challenged to stay “L.I.T.” during Wednesday’s Arkadelphia Promise Signing Day.
Dozens of proud parents, educators, students, and community members filled the Arkadelphia High School gym to witness the students sign their names and commit to continuing their education at either institutions of higher learning or branches of the armed forces.
The 2017 class was the seventh class of Arkadelphia High School seniors to receive the Promise Scholarship.
Ouachita graduate Kendra Pruitt, defined “L.I.T.” as learning, intentional and thankful.
Pruitt challenged the students to learn themselves and their purpose in life.
“Each of you have a unique gift inside of you that the world and this community of Arkadelphia needs. Only you have it,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt urged the students to find, learn, develop and utilize their gift to benefit society.
“I want you guys to know that you are a movement all by yourself,” said Pruitt.
As the students prepare to move through life with a little more experience and a lot more freedom, Pruitt urged the students to learn more about their passion, dreams and goals, and to use them to influence others.
In addition to learning themselves, Pruitt urged the students to learn stuff.
“Learn as much as you can. Drown yourself in knowledge,” Pruitt advised.
According to statistics, Pruitt said 15 percent of Arkansas residents do not graduate from high school, while 20 percent of Arkansas residents possess a bachelors degree.
Turning her attention to intentional, Pruitt challenged the students to be deliberate with every action they take.
“Your future is not what happens to you, it’s what you make happen. It’s what you create,” said Pruitt.
A native of Newport, Pruitt said she was able to graduate from Ouachita Baptist University, complete law school at the University of Arkansas, and pursue other opportunities she loves because she was intentional about her future.
“I didn’t let life happen to me. I created the life I wanted and you can do the same. If I can do it and can get out of Newport, Arkansas, you guys can do whatever it is you set your minds to,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt reminded the students that graduation is not the end, but it is the beginning of their life.
“You’re beginning a new journey. Your journey will have many twists and turns, detours, and roadblocks. How will you deliberately and intentionally move through what life throws at you?,” Pruitt asked.
Pruitt finally challenged the students to be thankful.
“When I graduated from high school, I didn’t fully appreciate how big the moment truly was. This is a big moment, and it is something that you all should be very, very proud of,” said Pruitt.
Pruitt reminded the students that they did not make it on their own.
“You owe your parents a tremendous debt of gratitude for all they’ve done for you,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt also stated the students should show gratitude to their teachers, administrators, counselors, staff and the Arkadelphia community.
“Success is a journey, it is not a destination. As you embark on this new path, push forward to creating the future you want to achieve and do not let anyone or anything deter you from that greatness,” said Pruitt.
Thanks to the financial investment by the Ross Foundation and Southern Bancorp, Jason Jones, executive director of the Arkadelphia Promise, said many of the seniors are going to go on to do great things in life.
Because of their financial investment, Jones said the 2017 class will receive between $400,000 and $450,000 over the next four years to help pay for their college education.