• 66°

Bright Future: Patt named Vidalia Junior High School student of the year

Vidalia Junior High School’s Makenna Patt was chosen by her teachers in the eighth grade to be student of the year at the school.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia Junior High School’s Makenna Patt was chosen by her teachers in the eighth grade to be student of the year at the school. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Makenna Patt leans on her faith to maintain the qualities needed to be named student of the year.

Patt, a student at Vidalia Junior High School, was chosen out of the eighth grade class by her teachers as Vidalia Junior High School’s Student of the Year.

Patt said teachers chose her to be student of the year because she makes good grades, is intelligent and holds herself well. Her faith is what enables her to maintain these qualities, she said.

After being named student of the year, Patt was asked to create a portfolio of volunteer hours, write an essay about three things she wished she could change and attend an interview last Wednesday at the school board office.

When asked who her role model was during the interview, Patt said that Riverside Baptist Church’s youth minister Penny Hargirl was her mentor.

“(Hargirl) is active in our church and sings and plays the piano. She is an all around kind person,” Patt said.

Hargirl aided Patt in finding volunteer hours at the church to add to her portfolio. With Hargirl’s help, Patt volunteered in the church’s nursery during night church and at the Bible Bucks store, where children exchange Bible Bucks earned for bringing their Bibles and remembering Bible verses for prizes. Patt also volunteered at the Halloween carnival and at a women’s conference hosted by the church.

At the women’s conference, Patt served food and spoke with her mother about God and how their Christianity has helped them to see life clearly and stay away from sin.

In her essay, Patt wrote that she wanted to stop teen drinking, help to fight childhood obesity and encourage others to go to church and be religious. Patt said she feels most strongly about stopping teen drinking because she had a family member who had been in a wreck caused by drinking and driving.

To combat teen drinking now, Patt tries to tell her peers that drinking is not good for them and is also not religiously correct, she said.

Students of the year from schools in Monterey and Ferriday also attended interviews.

The winner of the interview went on to another round of interviews in which all parish students of the year participated. Ferriday, Monterey and Vidalia middle schools all participated in the program.

Patt placed second in the interview round.

Although being interviewed by the three judges was scary, Patt enjoyed picking out business professional clothes to wear to the interview. She chose a pencil skirt and jacket to wear to the interview.

“I looked like a lawyer,” Patt said.

When Patt gets older, she is interested in following Hargirl’s career path. Specifically, she would like to become more involved in Discipleland at Riverside Baptist Church.

Discipleland is part of Sunday School for every child who is younger than third grade.

“I feel better about myself when I am teaching them about the Bible and Christ,” Patt said.

In her free time, Patt enjoys playing softball for the A team at Vidalia Junior High School. Patt is the daughter of Darren and Sandy Patt of Vidalia.