By John R. Schirmer
Two Nashville High School alumni who have brought great credit to their school and community were honored Monday night, Nov. 15, with the school district’s first Distinguished Scholars Award.
Dr. Bob Arrington, valedictorian of the class of 1960; and J. Hearn Latimer, valedictorian of the class of 1959, were the honorees. Superintendent Doug Graham and friends of the recipients discussed the duo’s accomplishments at NHS and after they moved on to college and career.
Mayor Billy Ray Jones issued a proclamation naming Nov. 15, 2021 as “Nashville School District Distinguished Scholars Day in honor of Dr. Bob Arrington and J. Hearn Latimer.”
Jones said he asked his uncle, George Jones, about the two men, hoping to find out something to use during his presentation. George Jones’ reply was quick and to the point – “They’re really smart, Billy Ray.”
Dr. Arrington graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and went on to UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital for a career in teaching and practicing medicine.
Latimer graduated from MIT. He worked for NASA, taught and held other positions after graduation.
Graham talked briefly about Dr. Arrington and Latimer before friends told more about them.
Latimer thanked the district for the award in a video presentation. “I encourage teachers and students to bear down on the excellent education available at Nashville High School,” he said.
Roger Glasgow told some stories about Latimer’s days at NHS and after graduation. He thanked the district for recognizing the two valedictorians. “Academic recognition is even more significant than athletics awards. These recipients excel in careers that make important contributions to humankind.”
Jimmy Nowell talked about Dr. Arrington’s days at NHS and at UA-Fayetteville, where both were students. He said that he and Dr. Arrington “had such a good background here at Nashville High School that the first semester at the University of Arkansas was a repeat of what we had done at NHS.”
As a doctor and teacher, Dr. Arrington “has devoted his life to improve the health of the children of Arkansas,” Nowell said.
After the award presentations, the Scrapper band played “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” a song which they also performed after each home football game, Graham said. “I get emotional every time they play it,” he said.
Primary School Principal Nathan Evans played a trumpet solo during the song.
The reception ended with the the NHS “Alma Mater.”
More photos and a complete recap of the event will be included in the Nov. 24 issue of the News-Leader.