The UA Little Rock Kappa Sigma chapter awarded three scholarships to outstanding freshmen who exhibited exceptional leadership abilities in high school through community involvement, participation in student organizations, and service.
The winners of the “Take the Lead Scholarship” include Emma Guerra, a community management and development major and Spanish minor; Isaac Thomas, a double major in political science and international studies; and Landon DeKay, a political science major and legal studies minor.
Chris Stephens, head of the Kappa Sigma scholarship committee, said that after being involved in leadership roles in Kappa Sigma and several other organizations on campus, he created the “Take the Lead Scholarship” to encourage freshmen to take on more leadership responsibilities.
“We need students who will step up and take on leadership roles on campus and in the community,” Stephens said. “This scholarship is a way to recognize new freshmen who had leadership roles in high school. Our three winners stood way out of the crowd.”
Dr. Terry Richard, UA Little Rock professor emeritus of sociology and Kappa Sigma alumnus from Southwestern University, and Joe Swafford, libertarian nominee for Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District and Kappa Sigma alumnus from Arkansas Tech University, presented the $200 scholarships to the winners. The money for the scholarships was donated from the Richard Family Scholarship.
“My son was a member of Kappa Sigma, so this honors him,” Richard said. “I think it is an excellent idea to promote the largest, most diverse fraternity in the country.”
In her hometown of Dallas, Guerra, a graduate of Imagine International Academy of North Texas, was a varsity lacrosse player, president of the Broadcast Team, vice president of the National Honor Society, assistant editor-in-chief of the Rising Dragon Newspaper, as well as a member of the Debate Club, McKinney Youth Leadership program, and Congressional Youth Advisory Council.
“I am really happy,” she said. “It was an opportunity for a little extra help to pay for college. I didn’t expect a fraternity to pick a girl, but I was happy to receive the email telling me I won.”
Guerra plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in three years, then serve in the Peace Corps for two years before returning to Arkansas to attend law school with plans to work as a civil rights attorney.
“I want to be an advocate for the voiceless, repressed, neglected, and abused,” Guerra said. “Whether that be my advocacy coming through my practice of law for those who don’t have the ability, knowledge or means to stand up for themselves or by working for an organization that counsels those after a disaster.”
Thomas, a graduate of Ashdown High School, served as vice president and president of his class and Arkansas State vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, National Beta Club, Purple Pride Marching Band, Debate Team, and EAST Initiative. He served as a staff sergeant for the Civil Air Patrol.
“I was with the Air Force Civil Patrol in high school, so I pledged to join the Air Force after I get a diploma in my hand,” Thomas said. “Then I want to enter political life and become a politician and diplomat. I fully intend to join the Foreign Service Office and represent the United States of America abroad as I work with a team of specialists to promote peace, support prosperity, as I faithfully serve and protect the citizens from foreign threats.”
DeKay, a graduate of Maumelle High School, was actively involved in Student Council, National Honors Society, Student Council, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As a member of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, he was recognized for community projects that included teaching senior citizens in Maumelle how to use Microsoft Office, email, and social media programs and teaching middle and elementary school students about severe weather preparation.
“I plan to major in both political science and legal studies in order to become a prosecuting attorney,” Dekay said. “After I work in the legal field for several years, I want to run for a Senate or House of Representatives seat at the national level. I want to make a positive lasting difference on society, and this is the perfect way to do just that.”
In the upper right photo, the “Take the Lead Scholarship” recipients are honored at a ceremony at Kappa Sigma. Pictured (left to right): Rocio Ortega Richard, Terry Richard, Landon Dekay, Emma Guerra, Joe Swafford Isaac Thomas, and Chris Stephens.