Eighty-seven of Rolla's graduating high school seniors have earned Show-Me Scholars honors by fulfilling a pledge to take more rigorous classes during high school.

Students who completed the program received Show-Me Scholars medallions and cords to wear at their upcoming graduation ceremonies to highlight their accomplishments. The local business community also funded nineteen $1,000 scholarships to award to selected graduates.

The Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce facilitated the program on Tuesday, April 23 at St. Pat’s Ballroom in Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Havener Center.

“You might be going to a four-year college, a community college, a technical school, apprenticeship, the military or straight into the workforce,” Rolla Area Chamber Executive Director Stevie Kearse said to the students. “Whatever you decide, you are better prepared because you did take more challenging classes in high school.”

Show-Me Scholars seniors across Missouri also compete for state level scholarships. Rolla High School senior Kayla Copeland earned the additional honor of receiving one of these $1,000 Show-Me Scholars scholarships generously funded by State Farm.

“A core component of State Farm philanthropy programs is building pathways to college and career success,” said State Farm spokesperson Kevin Gamble. “State Farm is proud to support the Show-Me Scholars program and celebrates the success of these dedicated students.”

Copeland said she will begin studying nursing this fall at the College of the Ozarks.

“I was very shocked whenever they brought out the big check and said, ‘Congratulations, you get some money.’ I’m very grateful too,” said Copeland. “I’ve just grown up in a family where helping people is always the main priority and that’s just what I’ve learned, and to pick a field where I can dedicate my life to helping people is just something I’m really passionate about. I can’t wait to start.”

Show-Me Scholars is a statewide Missouri Chamber program that brings local employers into classrooms to motivate students to make the most of their time in high school by taking more challenging classes. Throughout their high school years, students receive encouragement from those business mentors to stay on track. The program is part of the workforce development goals of Missouri 2030, the Missouri Chamber’s strategic initiative to make the state an economic leader.

“Through the Show-Me Scholars curriculum, these hardworking, dedicated students have developed the strong educational foundation they will need to be successful in the job opportunities of today and tomorrow. We are proud of their achievements thus far and expect to see great things from them in the future,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “We also want to thank the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce for their efforts that have made this program an outstanding success in this community.”

A long-term study by the U.S. Department of Education showed that the course of study students take is a more accurate predictor of success than grades, test scores or class rank, particularly for minority students. In addition to pursuing advanced academic studies, the program also encourages students to become responsible citizens in preparation for entering the workforce. 

Non-academic components of the program include student participation in community service efforts, maintaining attendance requirements and abiding by the Missouri Safe Schools Act. Learn more about the program at mochamber.com/show-me-scholars.

Scholarship Supporters:

$8,000 Level

Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce

$1,000 Level

East Central College

First State Community Bank

Phelps County Bank

Phelps Health

Legends Bank

Schmidt Associates 

Sherrick Orthodontics

$500 Level

Key Sport

McCall’s Floormart 

Rolla Family Dentistry

Wallis Petroleum

Sakelaris Ford Lincoln

$300 and Under Level

Riverways Federal Credit Union

Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of New Haven

The Bank of Missouri

Kent Jewelry

Elissa’s at Benton Square

Greg Harris

Vernon Promotions

State Farm Insurance - Dan Collier