Southeast Announces Recipients of Competitive President’s Scholarship


Five outstanding area students have been selected as recipients of Southeast Missouri State University’s competitive President’s Scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The awardees are Grace Barlage of Murphysboro, Illinois; Clayton Eftink of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Olivia Heidbrink of Ballwin, Missouri; Makayla Hutton of Sikeston, Missouri; and Olivia Klasing of St. Louis, Missouri.

The students were on campus Jan. 24 and participated in interviews to vie for the elite scholarship. The $10,000 award covers $7,000 in tuition and fees, and $3,000 for residence hall fees for students living on campus during their first year at Southeast. Students who meet the scholarship renewal criteria may increase their award annually, bringing the total scholarship value to $43,000.

“We had an exceptional group of students interview on campus,” said Lenell Hahn, Southeast director of Admissions. “Our time with them focused on their leadership, involvement, service and academic accomplishments. Their hard work and tenacity prove they are ready to join a community of Southeast students driven to do”

The President’s Scholarship recipients will be freshmen at Southeast when the fall 2020 semester begins in August. The recipients are:

Grace Barlage

Barlage is a senior at Murphysboro (Illinois) High School where she is vice president of the Student Council and co-president of the Future Business Leaders of America. She is vice president of the National Honor Society and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and Beta Club. She participates in basketball, volleyball and choir. She also has found time for community service, raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the St. Andrew’s Parish Festival as the game coordinator. She also has been a leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. At 12 years old, she launched her own business, A Graceful Whim, and makes and sells children’s clothing and accessories. She has a passion for helping animals and is an intern at Wright Way Rescue Animal Shelter and Timber Trails Veterinary Clinic. Her love for animals drew her to consider Southeast’s pre-veterinary medicine program where she hopes to gain the skills and knowledge that will prepare her for veterinarian school and, one day, opening and operating her own animal clinic and shelter. She received the grand prize for the Regional Science Fair at Southern Illinois University and a gold award at the state science fair, both in 2015. She is the daughter of Nichole and Craig Smelter, and Seth and Casey Barlage.

Clayton Eftink

Eftink is a senior at Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau where he has excelled as a student, an athlete and member of the community. He is the historian of the National Honor Society and member of the Men’s Club, Athletes Give Back, Thespian Honor Society, High School Youth Group and Feed My Starving Children. He also is a member of the varsity cross country team, where he was named All Conference, and the varsity track and field team, where he was named All Conference, All District and is a record holder. He is a member of Select Singers, participated in the Spring Musical and Quad State Music Festival, and was named all-state at the State Music Festival. Additionally, he is a lawn caretaker for Eftink Lawn Service. He hopes to combine his love of designing and restoring old cars, and his leadership abilities into a career as a mechanical engineer. He is the son of Adrian and Kim Eftink.

Olivia Heidbrink

Heidbrink is a senior at Marquette Senior High School in Chesterfield, Missouri, where she is a deputy group commander of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). She is concertmaster with the Chamber Orchestra and president of the Marquette Senior High School German Club. She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society. Additionally, she is a dance instructor with the Kinder Group of the German Cultural Society of St. Louis, and Rosenkönigin “Rose Queen” of the Youth Group of the German Cultural Society of St. Louis. She hopes to use her passion for mathematics and teaching to thrive in Southeast’s education programs and to, one day, become a math teacher and help other students learn. She is the daughter of Raymond Heidbrink and Marilyn Dodov Heidbrink.

Olivia Klasing

Klasing is a senior at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is the president of Thespian Troupe. She is also the Editor in Chief of the school yearbook and a member of the National Honors Society. Outside of school, Klasing is very active with her church where she serves as a Vacation Bible School Youth Leader and helps serve meals and participates in the church choir cantata. She also volunteers with the Special Olympics. Because of her vast experience in the theatre program at school, Klasing intends to pursue degrees in theatre and secondary education at Southeast with hopes to teach theatre. She is the daughter of Karl Klasing and Sarah Klasing.

Makayla Hutton

Hutton is a senior at Sikeston High School in Sikeston, Missouri, where she is the president of the Future Farmers of America. She also serves as the Treasurer for the Future Business Leaders of America. Hutton is a member of the National Honors Society and Foreign Language Club. She is also a member of the Varsity Tennis Team and Varsity Track and Field Team where she was named to Academic All-State. Hutton served as a Missouri Girls State Delegate and took top honors in the H&R Block Budget Challenge. Additionally, Hutton works as a Kennel Tech at Delta Veterinary Clinic in Sikeston. She hopes to become a veterinarian and open her own clinic. She is the daughter of Dan and Tanya Hutton.