The award was presented April 20 at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Southeast, said the University is pleased to continue its partnership with KMOX Radio to offer this award. The award is the result of Southeast’s successful relationship with the radio station over the years in sponsoring the annual KMOX/Southeast Missouri State University Student of Achievement Awards Program in St. Louis.
“The St. Louis Metro Area is home to scores of outstanding students who excel in academics, community service, athletics, music, theatre and many other activities,” Below said. “Southeast Missouri State University is pleased to continue to be a part of this celebration of academic achievement. Today, we are proud to add Jacob Wesley to this list. He is a remarkable young man who emulates the outstanding character for which Jack Buck was known. He was a model of excellence for all who knew him. We are sure Jack Buck would be very pleased to call Jake and all of today’s finalists ‘winners.’”
Wesley is the son of Troy and Estee Wesley of High Ridge, Missouri. Wesley is a standout student at Rockwood Summit High School, where he is a scholar-athlete. A three-time captain of the varsity soccer team and a member of the baseball team, Wesley has won two leadership awards for soccer, has been named to the Honor Roll and is president of the Rockwood Summit DECA Chapter. He has participated in FBLA and Link Crew and serves as sports director of the school radio and newspaper. He is a Major League Baseball credentialed journalist and has served as a tutor and mentor to ensure underclassmen at the high school are successful in school and in life. In addition to his success at Rockwood Summit, he also has been employed as a batboy for the St. Louis Cardinals, head of player development for the Adidas Surge Baseball Club and has served as the Rockwood Summit freshman baseball coach.
Wesley is known among his peers and teachers for his uncompromising commitment to excellence, He hopes to pursue a career as a teacher and coach, and also is considering a role in public service. He plans to double major in secondary education and political science at Southeast.
“Jake truly exemplifies the leadership and service qualities we hope all students will strive to achieve,” said Lenell Hahn, director of Admissions at Southeast. “With his positive attitude, enthusiasm and his commitment and dedication to excel in all he does, we know he has the ‘will to do’ to succeed at Southeast. We are excited to have him joining the Southeast Class of 2022 this fall.”
In 2003, Southeast teamed up with KMOX Radio in the establishment of the Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership 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 tuition and general fees for the equivalent of up to 30 credit hours per academic year at Southeast and residence hall fees for fall and spring semesters in a standard, double-occupancy room. The award, which is effective with the fall 2017 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 and Jefferson County were eligible to apply for the award. High school 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 announced for fans around the world. Buck worked tirelessly in support of charitable organizations and was committed to his family and his community.
Five other finalists for the award also were recognized today. Each finalist receives a Jack Buck Regents’ Scholarship, which covers tuition up to 30 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. Finalists are:
Jacob Abbott is the son of Kelly Abbott of St. Louis, Missouri. He excels in and out of the classroom at Lindbergh High School. He is passionate about computers – taking them apart and putting them back together – and is interested in developing applications that one day might be the next “big” app. In addition, he has played ice hockey for four years, serving as captain and being named most improved. He also played volleyball and was named junior varsity most valuable player. Abbott has participated in Link Crew; the All Suburban City Band; Renaissance, in which he received the Gold Level Award; Rake-a-thon; St. Vincent de Paul service activities; and the German Exchange Program, both hosting a German exchange student and studying abroad with his German exchange partner. He plans to major in biomedical science at Southeast.
Lauren Kohn is the daughter of Barbara and Timothy Kohn of Fenton, Missouri. At Cor Jesu Academy, Kohn has demonstrated a commitment to service and meeting the needs of the poor. She has participated in the Appalachia Service Project to rebuild houses and provide emotional support for people in need, and closer to home, she has purchased and delivered food to a local food pantry. She also has participated in cross country, Spanish Club, Youth Group and the Principal’s Council. At Southeast, she plans to major in finance and minor in business administration.
Alen Novi is the son of Zoran and Sladana Novi of St. Louis and a student at Hancock Place High School. There, he has participated in varsity soccer, serving as captain and having been named second team all-conference. He also has been active in DECA, Varsity H, National Honor Society, Student Council, Thespian Society, Hi-Step, Special Olympics and Senior Service Day. He also serves as a senior mentor. He hopes to pursue a career as a pharmacist.
Emma Reinagel is the daughter of Christine and Daniel Reinagel of St. Louis, Missouri. Reinagel is passionate about music – performing at a variety of events as a member of a local band, songwriting and teaching. At Oakville High School, she has participated in several choral groups, has participated in state solo and ensemble competitions and serves as a piano and voice teacher. Reinagel also has participated in Drama Troupe, has performed in several school productions and in community theatre, been named to the Tri-M Musical Honor Society and All-State Choir and has been active with the French Honor Society. She also is a member of the International Thespian Society Troupe, has won the Journalism STL Award, receiving an excellent rating for new inside page design, and has volunteered with a number of community organizations. She hopes to pursue a career as an actress.
Kayla Wallace is the daughter of Juanita Wallace of Florissant, Missouri. Science is at the center of who she is, and she naturally excels in science at Hazelwood West High School. Wallace is a self-described environmental advocate and committed steward of the earth who aspires to be an environmental microbiologist. She has served as an intern with the Shaw Institute for Field Training, working with scientific researchers at the Tyson Research Center. She is a co-leader, activities coordinator, outdoor classroom committee head of the Botany-Ecological Engineering Club, where she has led a composting initiative. She has participated in Students as Garden Educators (SAGE), serving as an educator for sustainability at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Wallace also is a Grace Student Ministry and Haiti Mission Trip volunteer and has been an active member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Life-Saver and Women of West and Ambassadors’ Club. She has won severl academic awards and has participated in the Missouri Leadership Seminar, Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Emerging Leaders Conference, Teen Summit on Race, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Sophomore Pilgrimage to Jefferson City and the Washington University in St. Louis Institute.
**Photo Caption: At left is Jacob Wesley, recipient of the 2018 Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award. Presenting him the award, at right, is Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Southeast.