Students stand up for Texas

Sabine's Halyn McKenzie (second from left) poses for a photo with other Yale Young Global Scholars Lea Kim of Ohio, Halyn McKenzie, Alkin Kaz from Turkey and Jamie Song of California at Yale University.
Sabine's Halyn McKenzie (second from left) poses for a photo with other Yale Young Global Scholars Lea Kim of Ohio, Halyn McKenzie, Alkin Kaz from Turkey and Jamie Song of California at Yale University.

IN their 2018 selection of applicants the Yale Young Global Scholars admitted 1,768 students from 126 countries and all 50 of the United States to a summer program dedicated to international exchange and liberal arts education. It was the largest group admitted since it was founded in 2001. The mission is to expose students to global issues, international affairs, American government and policy leadership.

Halyn McKenzie, an upcoming junior at Sabine High School was among those selected to attend the two-week program.

“In December of 2017, I received an email inviting me to apply to be a Yale Young Global Scholar,” said Halyn. “After researching and reading through the sessions offered, I decided to apply to the Applied Science and Engineering (ASE) session. The application process was pretty extensive – it consisted of three essays, an academic portfolio, and several other personal documents, just like a real college application. Being a U.S. citizen and unaffiliated with Yale formerly, I only had a 15 per cent chance of being accepted with the full scholarship I applied for and luckily I was one of the 15 percent accepted with all those benefits,” she said.

“As a global scholar, I traveled to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and stayed in Davenport College for 2 weeks in June. With so many different countries represented, I was honored to represent Texas, Liberty City, and Sabine ISD at such a world-renowned university,” continued Halyn.

“While I was there, I attended lectures every morning by famous professors and several seminars. I also participated with a group of people to create a capstone presentation that presented a solution to a disease and public health issue, which we had to present to our whole class. I learned some really interesting topics at Yale. One of my favorites had to be the applications of quantum mechanics and how the recent developments in the field have expanded how we interpret the world around us. It’s truly fascinating how by studying the tiniest of particles we could discover how the entirety of the universe was designed,” she said.

“Another interesting thing was that I took a few seminars surrounding the relationship between God and science, and it was so enlightening to hear the opinions and point of view of people from all over the world. As a Christian, this experience has really strengthened my faith by learning of other religions and by being given the opportunity to share globally what my God has done in my life and why I believe He is Lord. My experience at Yale has acted as a growth spurt in my development as a young adult. Besides just the knowledge I gained there, I think the thing I learned the most about was myself. I’ve come closer to realize who I am growing up to be not only as a student but as a leader and Christian, too,” Halyn admitted.

Halyn is the daughter of Maryanne Smith-McKenzie and Glenn McKenzie of Liberty City. Her grandparents are Jimmy and June Smith of Liberty City and Jim and Vivian McKenzie of Kilgore.

“She was born as an intense person,” said her mother, Maryanne. “Her selection to the Yale Young Global Scholars did not come to us as a surprise; she has always been like that. It wouldn’t even surprise me if she told us her career goal was to become president,” she laughed.

Even her grandfather, Jimmy took it all in stride admitting he once turned a playroom for all the grandchildren into “Halyn’s quiet room” for intense study and a better internet connection.

“Quite often, I have driven home at night to find her car parked in the yard and in her room studying away,” he said. “Oh, yes, we look forward to seeing what comes next with her.”

ANNA BESS HEDRICK evidently cracked the whip after the remark in last week’s column regarding the family reunion as text messages, calls and arrivals came quickly afterward. “No one got arrested,” said Dale Hedrick. “And to the best of my knowledge 146 people including the kids came to the reunion. It topped 141 for the 2017 so that means the family is still growing.”

The family reunion is held every year on the first Saturday of July and all Hedricks wear a “Team Hedrick” T-shirt emblazoned with the Hedrick union establishing date of 1972. At a silent auction the kids get to participate, rushing to the auction tables bidding the last of their pennies.

“The silent auction helps defray some of the cost of the reunion and we have a ball with it. It was Don’s idea of getting the children involved as he brings in rods and reels for them to bid on,” Dale laughed.

“One of the biggest highlights was the presentation of two large photographic plaques to the last two surviving Hedricks of the original fourteen siblings. My first cousin, Danny Palmer, who is head coach at Tyler Junior College made the presentation to his “Uncle Buck” and “Uncle Billy,” who is my father,” explained Dale. “The plaques showcased their parents, a group photo of all the siblings and with individual photos of each sibling with name inscription.”

“In the evening we went to my Uncle Lewis’ place in Chandler called the Ponderosa where cousins Van and Valerie hosted a hayride and fireworks comparable to the City of Kilgore.”

Plans are now in process for the upcoming year.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or 903-984-2593


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