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ACU signs three local high school seniors for academic excellence

May 23, 2006

Katie Barnard, a senior from Abilene Christian High School, Erin Halstead, a senior from Abilene High School, and Nick Perkins, a senior from Abilene High School, signed letters of intent to attend Abilene Christian University May 17 at the Teague Special Events Center on the ACU campus.

By signing the letters, Barnard and Perkins accepted a half-tuition Presidential award and Halstead accepted a full-tuition Presidential award based on their academic achievements and leadership.

For more than 100 years, Abilene Christian University has been a national leader in Christian higher education. It is a private, selective university that attracts more than 4,800 students from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Graduates are accepted into medical schools at a rate more than twice the national average, ACU is one of five private universities in the nation with an accredited journalism program.

The university's undergraduates are included in significant faculty research projects and are actively involved in the community. ACU hosts an all-Christian faculty personally interested in students' studies and lives and has a career network of 86,000 alumni in every state and 109 countries. ACU's mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. The university strives to provide exceptional education, and regularly attracts high achievers like Barnard, Halstead and Perkins.

Robert Heil, director of admission and enrollment management, said ACU emphasizes the importance of academic achievement.

"Many schools conduct formal signings for athletes, but few, if any others, currently have signings ceremonies for top academic students," Heil said. "We value academics in the same way many schools value sports."

Barnard is second in her class at Abilene Christian High School. While maintaining high academic standards, she has been involved in athletics, volunteer and community activities. She is a member of the volleyball team, band and choir, as well as serving as National Honor Society President and senior class president. In the community, Barnard has been involved in the United Way Youth Council, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Pals program and with the Highland Church of Christ Youth Leadership Team. Her parents are Wayne and Mimi Barnard of Abilene.

Active in church, community and school activities, Halstead is third in her class at Abilene High School. She has served as the president of the AHS Art Club, Student Council representative, vice-president of the outdoor recreational activities club and was co-captain of the junior varsity basketball team last year. Halstead has served as a mentor and volunteer in the community through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Breakfast on Beech Street and Loving Care Ministries. She is an active member of the Highland Church of Christ serving on the Youth Leadership Team, Crossover Taskforce, praise band and mission trips to the Bronx and Brazil. Her parents are Randy and Jackie Halstead of Abilene.

Perkins is 77th in his class at Abilene High School, and has been an active participant in school and community athletics, community organizations and church activities. At AHS, Perkins is a three year letterman of the varsity golf team and is also a member of the varsity baseball team. He is a member of the National Honor Society and an officer for the AP Human Geography Club. Perkins is an active volunteer in the community dedicating time to the Hendrick Home for Children and The Mission, as well as serving as coach for an elementary basketball team and participating the First Baptist Church youth group and Young Life. His parents are David and Linda Perkins of Abilene.  

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