Student receives unexpected award during class

Senior Megan Keller was surprised with a $5,000 scholarship from United Way for her volunteer work this Monday. She received the award during choir, unaware that it would be presented to her.

“It was really unexpected, because I applied for all these scholarships in August,” Keller said, “so I kind of forgot what I applied for. And I see Alvarez walk in and I see my grandma walk in and I see my dad walk in, and I was just like, “What’s going on?”

The award, named for former Northeast Magnet student Aaron Joel Smith, is given to three high school students in Sedgwick, Sumner, or Butler county who are active volunteers for United Way of the Plains or affiliates. Smith was killed in a car accident on his way to lead a United Way campaign rally, and the award is a memorial of his “enthusiastic and generous spirit.” (

Keller was nominated for the scholarship by Alvarez for her extensive volunteer work both through school-related events and outside opportunities. The scholarship is to be put towards tuition and books at the college of her choice.