The 1998 Academic All-Star finalists 

From a 'slow learner' to cancer survivor, top students all.

Was it hard to choose the Academic All-Star team?

Consider one of the finalists who didn't make the final cut, Mindy Lasater of Clarksville, who attends Russellville High School.

Her high school years were marked by more than a 4.0-gradepoint average and Girls State.

"In July of 1993," she writes, "the lump on my neck and the mass in my chest prevented me from going to the AAU National Basketball Tournament in Tennessee." She had been an MVP in Arkansas, but a diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma kept her home from Tennessee and threatened her future.

"My life-long dream of playing college ball was in danger. So I asked the Lord if he would give me the desire of my heart and let me play basketball. He did. During treatment I went to practice every morning at 7:30, drove two hours to Children's Hospital for chemotherapy and radiation and then threw up all the way home. I was bald, had blue radiation marks on my face and neck, but I had a starting position on the team and I made it to every game. My coordination was off, and I was slower than usual, so I had to work harder to keep up. Because of that, I am a better player today. And the kids who made fun of my appearance actually did me a favor, because I grew in sensitivity toward others."

The rest of the story: Mindy has signed a four-year basketball scholarship at Arkansas Tech University.

The following students also reached the final round of judging in the 1998 Academic All-Stars competition.


Eliaser Ramon Chaparro, Little Rock, Pulaski Academy. A clarinetist since the fourth grade, he made all-region band as a 10th grader and was named best member of his school's jazz band. A National Merit and National Hispanic scholar, he played football, throws the discus in track, works on the stage crew for school musicals and volunteers in several community and church projects.

Grant Maxey Cox, Marianna, Barton High School. Twice a member of the all-state Quiz Bowl team, Grant is No. 1 in his class, student body president, newspaper editor, and all-region bandsman and member of the track and baseball teams.

Nathan A. Feezor, Maynard High School. In addition to ranking at the top of his class, Nathan is a successful businessman who took out a loan for what has turned into a growing, and successful cattle feeding operation. Other activities: active in club that monitors local water quality; built a new Welcome to Maynard sign.

William F. Goodbold IV, Fountain Lake High School. A National Merit scholar who tops his class, Nathan counts as his great achievement parlaying hard work, including summer workouts, to make himself an all-district football player, despite being "not an athletic person."

Roy Richard Ha, Osceola, Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science. A math and physics whiz and a National Merit scholar, Roy overloaded himself with classes as a freshman and sophomores to get to fun stuff--"Differential Equations." Semi-finalist in the Presidential Scholars Program.

Ben A. Hood, Benton, Bryant High School. He started an Ecology Club at his school, which recycles paper, aluminum and plastic and also organized campus cleanups, planted trees and bulbs and placed concrete benches and planters on campus. No. 1 in his class of 362, he plays soccer and tennis.

Chad Lakey, Adona, Perryville High School. Despite the burden of caring for parents terminally ill with lung cancer in his junior year (they died three days apart), he worked on, hoping to achieve their dream that he go to college. He'll finish fifth in his class, is the top-rated male, played football and is president of the National Honor Society.


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