Eureka High School Student Wins Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award

Madeline McKenzie and Carole Buck

Madeline McKenzie, recipient of the Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award with Carole Buck, widow of the late Jack Buck.

ST. LOUIS, Mo.,

May 14, 2009 – A Eureka High School student who has excelled academically and is committed to serving her community was named the recipient today of the seventh annual Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award by Southeast Missouri State University.

The award was presented today to Madeline McKenzie of Eureka, Mo., at a luncheon at the Hilton Ballpark Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Carole Buck, wife of the late Jack Buck, attended the luncheon to present the award to McKenzie, as well as Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, who presented the finalist awards.

“Southeast Missouri State is very fortunate to have the Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award associated with our institution,” Dobbins said. “Jack Buck was a man of impeccable character, a humble gentleman who went about his business quietly, but whose humility and professionalism left a lasting impression of excellence. We think these qualities are similar to those of Southeast, which has been cited nationally as a hidden treasure, a University with sound academic programs that is committed to our students and the values of our region. We think Jack Buck would call this award in his name ‘a winner.’”

McKenzie is the daughter of Patricia and Barry McKenzie of Eureka, Mo. She has stayed very busy as a Eureka High School student while still maintaining a grade point average above a 4.0. Madeline has served as captain of her swimming and volleyball teams for the past two years and has been captain of the Lake Chesterfield Swim Team for six years. She has played the flute in her school’s marching band all four years, and she participates in the concert and symphonic bands as well. In addition, she helps new students at her school adjust to high school with her involvement in Wildcat Ambassadors. She is a gold level member of her school’s Renaissance Program and has earned numerous academic, athletic and music awards for her involvement and character. McKenzie has participated in community service activities each of her four years at Eureka. She has volunteered with the Franklin County Humane Society, the Adopt-A-Family Committee, music festivals and tutoring. Madeline plans to pursue a degree in exercise science.

In 2003, Southeast Missouri State University teamed up with KMOX Radio in the establishment of the award. The award, which was the first scholarship to be established in memory of Buck, recognizes a student in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area who has demonstrated outstanding character, academic achievement and the potential to be a leader in the community. The award covers incidental fees (tuition) and general fees for the equivalent of up to 32 credit hours per academic year at Southeast Missouri State University and residence hall fees for fall and spring semesters in a standard, double-occupancy room. The award, which is effective with the fall 2009 semester, also provides a 15-meal per week board plan. 

Students from the St. Louis Metro Area, including St. Louis County and City, St. Charles County, Franklin County, Jefferson County and the Metro East area in Illinois were eligible to apply for the award. High school guidance counselors from the metropolitan area were asked to nominate one deserving applicant from their high school.

For nearly 50 years, Buck was the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals to generations of sports fans. He passed away in 2002. He was widely admired by his colleagues in the world of broadcasting and by the players whose feats he recounted for fans around the world. Buck worked tirelessly in support of charitable organizations and was committed to his family and his community. 

Four other finalists for the award also were recognized today. All finalists receive a Jack Buck Regents’ Scholarship, which covers incidental fees (tuition) up to 32 hours per academic year for up to four consecutive years, and a one-time $500 Jack Buck Leadership Award to be applied to housing expenses. They are:

Emily Reinitz

Reinitz is the daughter of Daniel and Joyce Reinitz. As a student at Ritenour High School, she has proven herself to be the ideal student. She served as a member of the National Honor Society and French Club and as vice president and president of the French National Honor Society. In addition, she was a member of her school’s advanced women’s chorus and a capella choir and is currently the historian for the chamber singers group. In addition, she played on the junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams and serves as manager for the girls’ swimming and diving team. Reinitz was selected for the All-Academic Team and was honored with the Volleyball Four-Year Participant Award and Senior Scholar Athlete Award. She has given back to the community by serving as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters and organizer/counselor for her church’s basketball camps. She is also vice president of her church’s youth group. Reinitz plans to pursue a degree in English literature and writing.

Nikki Buchheit

Buchheit is the daughter of Brian and Lisa Buchheit. Throughout her time at Rockwood Summit High School, she has learned to effectively balance her academics and various leadership positions. She served as member of the National Honor Society and Renaissance Committee, representative of Student Council, representative and vice president of Quill and Scroll, and assistant business manager and associate editor of her school’s yearbook. Buchheit’s principal also selected her to be a representative on the Curriculum Advisory Council and member of the Senior Committee. In addition, Nikki was a member of the junior varsity poms squad and is a member of the varsity poms squad and varsity track and field team. Her varsity track and field coach also selected her for the Captains Committee. Buchheit plans to pursue a degree in secondary mathematics education.

Kaitlyn Smugala

Smugala is the daughter of Michael and Karen Smugala. Besides maintaining her outstanding academic record at Parkway South High School, Smugula dedicates time to many school and community activities. She served as a member of National Honor Society, Beta Pi and Girl Scouts of America. She also served as president of Mock Trial and co-committee leader for the Renaissance Program. In addition, she is an active member of her school’s orchestra and varsity soccer team and has served as a member of the Lou Fusz Soccer Club, Cougars Soccer Club and JB Marine Soccer Club. She also was a member of the freshman softball and basketball teams, and junior varsity soccer team. In addition, Smugula was honored as Math Student of the Year in 2003 and received various awards at Lead America Youth Leadership conferences. She has given back to the community by volunteering for the Circle of Concern Food Bank and other food banks, Cystic Fibrosis Walk-a-Thon, Ronald McDonald House, and Equine Assisted Therapy. She is also an active member of her church and church youth group and went on a mission trip to Mexico. Smugula plans to pursue a degree in secondary mathematics education.

Bradley Beran

Beran is the son of Robert Beran and Nancy Beran-Moore. Throughout his time at De Soto High School, Beran has excelled academically and served as a leader in various extracurricular activities. He is a member of Student Council and his school’s basketball, football and baseball teams. He also was a member of  Junior American Legion Baseball. In addition, Beran served as historian for National Honor Society, vice president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, secretary of Men’s Glee Club, and section leader for concert choir. Beran also was a participant in his school’s Talented and Gifted Program and Renaissance Program. He was recognized as a Missouri Boys State Citizen and Model County Winner, Student of the Year and Student of the Month. He has given back to the community by volunteering for the Special Olympics. Beran plans to pursue a degree in pre-medicine.