Learning propels Williams for the head of class

Jefferson County graduation schedule

• Tuesday, May 10: Watson Chapel High, 7 pm, Pine Bluff Convention Center

• Thursday, May 12: White Hall High, 7 pm, Bulldog Stadium

• Friday, May 13: Southeast Arkansas College, 7 p.m., Pine Bluff Convention Center

• Tuesday, May 17: Dollarway High, 6 pm, UAPB HO Clemmons Arena

• Wednesday, May 18: Friendship Aspire Academy Southeast Campus, noon, school gymnasium

• Friday, May 20: Pine Bluff High, 7 pm, Pine Bluff Convention Center

This is the third of 14 entries in a series highlighting Jefferson County high school and college graduates.

Just one mention is of Emoni Williams, and Nicole Anderson’s voice is gleefully lit up.

“I just love Emoni!” she reacted.

Anderson taught Williams at Southwood Elementary, the Pine Bluff School District, and the teacher reflected on her standout pupil’s engaging personality that made teaching easy – while still enjoying her job.

“Her creativity” and “thinking outside the box to figure things out” were among Williams’ qualities that ran through Anderson’s mind.

“I didn’t know what I was doing with my instruction, whether it was a large assignment or small instruction, but I was giving her what I wanted to know,” Anderson said. “She has a beautiful personality. She was one of those students who made you say, ‘I’ll take you home with me.’ She has that go-getter attitude about herself.

Anderson’s voice in The tone of glee turned out to be a complete but pleasant surprise when her third- and fifth-grade star pupil was named valedictorian at Watson Chapel High School.

For Williams, who posted a 4.2 grade-point average, the honor is the result of an academic challenge from never backing down.

“I guess the school’s like a challenge,” Williams said. “When you learn something and you really get to know it, it’s like, ‘Hey, I got this. I know how to do it.’ It’s like, ‘OK, let’s see if you can put it to a test or you can play a game. Can you see your knowledge?’ I challenge myself. “

Flashcards and quiz games are just two things Williams uses to help her test.

Williams said she owes her success to her parents, Lakey and Edmund Williams, and to Watson Chapel, but she added that Southwood was where she excelled in academics. Two “amazing” teachers – the late Lyna Johnson and Anderson – were inspired by a young woman who never dreamed of being a valedictorian.

“They pushed me, and I was excited to learn,” she said. “I was really eager to learn.”

High school success, to say the least. At Watson Chapel, Williams participated in Family, Consumer and Career Leaders of America; Key Club; Beta Club; National Honor Society; Fashion Club; and Pinterest Club.

Yes, a Pinterest Club.

“For breast cancer [awareness]”We made posters and little flyers to go around the school show awareness,” Williams said. “Beta Club posted a breast cancer walkathon.”

Williams’ high school resume won’t be complete without the editorial of the yearbook.

“She just strives to do her best,” said Gerald Jeffers, the yearbook advisor and school librarian. “She doesn’t settle. Emoni doesn’t tend to settle. She worked with me on the yearbook. I wouldn’t have made it without her.”

Moments in which Williams took charge, Jeffers said, were among his favorite moments of work during the school year.

Black and gold – Watson Chapel’s school colors – will remain in Williams’ immediate future, as she enrolls at Pine Bluff at the University of Arkansas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology.

“Industrial technology is kind of like the basics of engineering,” she said. “I want to expand my knowledge with that, and I want to take it as far as working in aerospace, like working on plans.”

After UAPB, Williams plans to obtain a Ph.D. Where she’ll do it, she’s not for certain, but the sky’s the limit – figuratively.

“I want to travel,” she said, stressing she’d like to work across the country to deepen her knowledge in engineering. “There is no set place because I am doing it on the plan [internships].

“Maybe when I retire, I’ll go into teaching.”

Anderson has another valedictorian and shower of the same praises Anderson has on her.

“She was the type of student I said, ‘I wish I had 23 more students like her,'” Anderson said. “She was that student, every year, I’d get a student, and the parent would say, ‘Don’t you want to go to her next grade?’

With high school graduation two days away, Williams is already imparting knowledge to those who seek to raise their game in the classroom. All it takes, she wants, is a desire to reach the top and stay there.

“Sometimes, it takes a village to raise a child,” Williams said. “I believe there are people out there who want to help you, but you have to help yourself, ‘I want to do this for myself.’ You can help people, but it won’t do anything for you. You are better than a ‘B.’ You are better than a 90, a 99. If you can achieve a 100, you go for that 100. “

Wednesday: Meet White Hall High School’s valedictorian.

Watson Chapel High School valedictorian Emoni Williams embraces the challenge of school. (Pine Bluff Commercial / IC Murrell)

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