Chillicothe High School honored 164 academically high-achieving students from its 2011-12 school year Monday night at its 21st-annual Academic Awards event.

Recognized for earning 3.33 grade-point averages (on a 4.0 scale) or higher last school year were 56 current seniors, 44 present juniors, and 64 2012-13 sophomores.

Of the 56 seniors, all except five became a perfect three for three in earning CHS academic "letters." Those who earn them again in this, their final year at the school, will be duly noted at graduation ceremonies next May.

From the group of 44 current juniors, only two were not accepting the award for a second time.

As is the event's tradition, a Chillicothe High School alumnus returned to give featured remarks. This year's speaker was Chad Epps, a 1999 CHS graduate and certified public accountant currently serving as a manager with Overland Consulting, Inc., in Overland Park, Kan.

The former Chillicothean built his address around three foundational points – a commitment to a vision of success, getting past the letter A, and teaching others as a way of demonstrating and deepening your mastery of a subject.

To the first point, Epps recounted that, like most youngsters, he alternately envisioned himself in a variety of careers or pursuits once he was grown.

As he progressed into his high school years and more seriously and cognitively surveyed work/career options, he said, he realized his lifelong fascination and facility with numbers and working with them was one of his greatest assets. Once he had that vision of how he might be most successful, he committed himself academically to advancing and polishing those arithmetical, mathematical, and other skills to the highest degree possible, so as to give himself his best chance of "succeeding", in all the meanings of that word, as an adult.

"Going into accounting allowed me to utilize my strengths as a mathematician and analyst," he stated.

As for "getting past the letter A," Epps explained that was his way of expressing the transition from the formal educational process in which achievement routinely is measured in letter or numeric grades to "applying what you have learned in the real world," where achievement is determined by whether you have performed your job in a way which positively impacts customers or clients or co-workers or, if not self-employed, the business for which you work.

He encouraged the young scholars, whether during their high school years or during college or after entering the workforce, to be open to non-classroom opportunities to further develop and refine their skills and knowledge and to broaden their horizons of possibilities for their lives.

Such avenues can include job shadowing or interning, volunteer work, or studying abroad, as he did when he spent part of his senior year in college in Costa Rica.

His third tenet, of passing one's knowledge on to others as a way to continue ripening one's grasp of a subject and sharing what has previously been shared with you, involves a conscious commitment to that end.

"Find ways to share what you've learned with others," Epps encouraged, touching on but a few examples, such as helping younger siblings or acquaintances, volunteering with organizations like 4-H, or being involved in things like professional organizations.

Accompanying Epps to Chillicothe for the academic-recognition event was his wife, Heather. Also on hand were his parents, retired Chillicothe school district teachers Charles Epps and Rosaline Williams.

"I was truly blessed to have had parents who placed the highest regard on education," the younger Epps prefaced his remarks, after introducing his parents.

Prior to his current employment, Epps earned an undergraduate degree from Truman State University with summa cum laude recognition, and his Master's of Accountancy degree from the university at Kirksville. He passed the C.P.A. examination in 2004.

He worked as an associate and then senior associate of audit practice for one of the country's largest accounting firms (KPMG), and as a midstream accounting manager for Inergy.

He was recipient of the "Kansas City Top 30 'Under 30' Young Minority," award and the KPMG Encore Award.

An accomplished instrumental musician while at CHS, he currently plays the piano for his church in Kansas City, and is an INROADS workshop facilitator.

Also making remarks recognizing the honored students for their classroom accomplishments were CHS Principal Brian Sherrow and Chillicothe district Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes.

Noting not only the performances of the high school students being honored Monday, but students throughout the district, Barnes reiterated that the district again last year accomplished the distinction of meeting all state academic achievement/performance standards.

To receive an academic letter award, a student must earn a B-plus average (95 grade average on an 11-point scale) during the previous school year.

Seniors receiving their third academic letter are as follows: Quinten Adams, Carley Anderson, Jonathan Arthaud, Caela Ashford, Kaleb Bagley, Kyle Bagley, Kelsey Baker, Destany Bay, Ashley Blakely, Abbey Brinkley, Shelby Bush, James Chapman, Lane Clark, Cody Colgrove, Madison Condron, Candace Foltz, Donald Gannan, Derek Gray, Brice Griffin, Nikki Hague, Olivia Hayes, Shelby Hays, Lindsay Head, David Hershberger, Keara Hopper, Jordan Huddleston, Katelyn Huff, Sarah Hussey, Bridgett Kieffer, Cyrsten Lollar, Trevor Long, Katlyn Lyon, Jessica Maasdam, Garrett Major, Elizabeth McCoy, Samantha McKiddy, Leslee Mehrhoff-Moore, Justin Metry, Katie Milanovich, Grant Peterson, Chelsea Price, Chase Reeter, Emily Rosenbach, Jessica Scordel, Tiffany Sheler, Maura Sturguess, Brooks Sturm, Hannah Thieme, Brooke Thomas, Troy Toedebusch, Joshua Wayman, Alec Whiteside, Madison Williams, Johnson Young. Seniors earning their second academic letters are: Wade Dietz, Caleb Hearon, Logan Lyons, Robert Peniston, Nathan Stark.

Juniors earning their second academic letters are: Isis Baker, Mackenzie Barnett, Kelsey Boley, Connor Bonderer, Hannah Boon, Benjamin Burtch, Emily Calvert, Jordyn Circo, Tyler Clampitt, Shantel Cooper, Kerrigann Cosgrove, Jared Cox, Madison Critten, Megan Dominique, Matthew Dupy, Jaclyn Durbin, Sara Frampton, Erin Gilliland, Maggie Graves, Alyssa Hill, Chrissie Horn, Ethan Keller, Alicia Kieffer, Alan Kline, Quinten Lewis, Jami Loney, Brooke Mason, MacKenzie McCullough, Harold Morris, Cassandra Perez, Megan Perry, Faith Peters, Paige Peters, Anna Posey, Kayla Riddle, Ulises Rojas, Erynn Skoglund, Ryan Smith, Alexis Snyder, Tianna Snyder, Caleb Stull, Matthew Sturm, Sarah Taylor, Truman Wheeler, Dalton Wyrick; Juniors earning their first academic letters are Kolby Eller and Stephanie Hall.

Sophomores earning academic letters are: Christena Adams, Chelsea Adkison, Denise Anderson; Samantha Baldwin, Timber Ballantyne, Mary Bligh, Erica Brade, Megan Churchill, Victoria Circo, Dylan Clark, Nathaniel Coleman, Angeline Dana, Cole Distler, Morgan Dowell, Breigha Faulkner, Baily Fox, Kayla Fox, Lauren Haley, Shelby Hall, Katlyn Hamilton, Joanna Hathcock, Katie Hays, Hannah Head, Bailey Henry, Carly Hibner, Noah Holland, Derek Hussey, Alyxis Jennings, Carlee Johnson, Hallee Jones, Quaid Jones, Madalyn Koehly, Jared Lauhoff, Hannah Leamer, Shelby Lightner, Chelsea Long, Ridge Maasdam, Mason Mayers, Austin Minnick, Brooke Nelson, Christopher Noble, Bradley Ogle, Chantel Perez, Garrett Peterson, Gabriel Poling, Zachary Quinn, Sarah Rapp, Jordan Reeter, Jozie Reeter, Shelley Rucker, Elizabeth Rule, Colby Ruoff, Lindy Saunders, Hailey Seeley, Taylor Servaes, Haelee Shady, Matthew Shaffer, Austin Sharp, Carrie Silvers, Courtney Slattery, Ali Stephens, Emily Stewart, Savannah Sturguess, Kaylee Thieme, Caleb Toedebusch, Riley Ward, Courtney Westcott, Sydnie Whiteside,