Anna Little, the daughter of Jeff and Amy, is representing Norwalk High School while Benjamin Schafer, the son of Donald and Annette, is from Monroeville.
Little plays on the Truckers swim and golf teams. Last year she was the lead in the “Peter Pan” musical.
“She is our top student right now in the class. She’s firing at a high level. She definitely works hard. She’s got a lot of God-given talents already,” said Principal Brad Cooley, who believes that’s a strong combination.
Cooley appreciates that Little is participating in many activities outside of the classroom.
“It’s nice because when we have our student orientation, that’s what we push to everyone (to do) — be involved. Make school more than a 7:30 (a.m.) to 2:30 (p.m. commitment). There’s far more to do learn; there’s far more to do … than just the academic side,” Cooley said.
“She definitely is capitalizing on all those opportunities we have to offer.”
In the summer of 2017, Little went on a mission trip with her mother, the Rev. Dr. Amy Little, and Monroeville residents Lorie Pierce and Gary Underwood to Africa as part of an orphan care ministry.
Similar to Anna Little, Schafer is involved in several extra-curricular activities at Monroeville High School. He is on the Academic Challenge team, participates in the National Honor Society, Model U.N. and plays tackle and defensive tackle for the Eagles football team. Also, Schafer is taking College Credit Plus classes.
Monroeville Local Schools Superintendent Ralph Moore was tickled when he learned Schafer is a semifinalist.
“That’s terrific,” he said. “In every sense, Benjamin Schafer epitomizes what a school district looks for — student character, academic performance and leadership.”
Principal Jim Kaczor said Schafer is “very deserving” of being a semifinalist.
“He obviously is a very bright student,” he added.
Amy Little said there’s no doubt her daughter had a goal of being a semifinalist — at the very least.
“I think it was a goal because her older brother (Noah) was National Merit commended, which is the first level and she wants to beat him in everything,” her mother added.
Noah Little graduated from NHS in 2015 and was the class salutatorian. Cooley said when he notified Anna that she was a semifinalist, she wanted to know if that was more prestigious than being commended and was happy she “beat” her older brother in the scholarship program.
While there definitely is some sibling rivalry, “she really looks up to him,” their mother said. “He set the bar pretty darn high.
“It’s amazing. She works so hard. As soon as she gets home, she’s studying. She spends a lot of time studying with her friends and even teaching them things sometimes when they get confused about calculus or other things, but she works super hard,” Amy Little said.
Time management and organization are part of her daughter’s success, given her busy schedule.
“She’s a really quick learner, but she does work hard, so she manages to get everything done. Sometimes she will put sticky-notes all over the wall. One time I went in (her bedroom) and there were all those colored sticky-notes everywhere,” Little said.