Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ALL-ACADEMIC TEAMS -

Alyssa McKnight knows how to get things done.

McKnight not only fin­ished first in her class, but she also ex­celled in two sports at Clin­ton High School, earn­ing all-con­fer­ence hon­ors in both ten­nis and bas­ket­ball.

“I’m proud of the le­gacy I left,” McKnight said. “I hope I set an ex­am­ple by try­ing my hard­est.”

McKnight’s big­gest im­pact came in the class­room where she was named to the honor roll af­ter ev­ery grad­ing pe­riod. She will at­tend the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville this fall and ma­jor in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

“Last sum­mer I at­tended the Arkansas Gov­er­nor’s School of math and it was very in­tim­i­dat­ing,” McKnight said. “While I was there, I talked to a re­tired Air Force me­chanic, and he talked about the job he had while he was in the ser­vice. I al­ways

knew I wanted to get into en­gi­neer­ing, but af­ter that I knew I wanted to get into me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.”

While at Arkansas, McKnight will be a mem­ber of the Air Force ROTC and will be a sec­ond lieu­tenant upon grad­u­a­tion.

One rea­son McKnight wants to en­ter the ser­vice is be­cause she en­joys trav­el­ing. She has al­ready trav­eled to four of the seven con­ti­nents.

Her fa­vorite place to visit has been Ethiopia.

“I was re­ally able to ab­sorb the cul­ture,” McKnight said. “The peo­ple there are very in­ter­est­ing and they are in­ter­ested in get­ting to know you. … We went to some tourist at­trac­tions, but they are at­trac­tions that are off the map.”

McKnight found pos­i­tives in play­ing both ten­nis and bas­ket­ball, al­though they were vastly dif­fer­ent sports.

“Ten­nis was in­tense,” McKnight said. “Un­til my se­nior year, I played dou­bles and it was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to rely on a team­mate and have them rely on you. But as a sin­gles player, it’s just you and I learned you re­ally have to con­trol your emo­tions or you will con­tinue to make mis­takes. I learned a lot of self-con­trol play­ing sin­gles.

“In bas­ket­ball, you just put it all out there,” McKnight con­tin­ued. “When you’re play­ing the post, it can get rough in the mid­dle. I con­sider it foot­ball for girls.”


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