Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe visited Everett Buick GMC in Bryant Tuesday to personally congratulate Kayla Henderson of Bryant for winning a Buick Achievers Scholarship.
Henderson will receive $25,000 a year.
Henderson was a student at the University of Arkansas this past year and will transfer this fall to University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she will continue to study accounting. She plans to obtain her master's degree with the goal of opening her own firm that will assist automotive dealers with tax services and bookkeeping, according to a press release from the GM Foundation. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her community whether it's feeding the homeless in LIttle Rock or cleaning up a local park.
Beebe commended Henderson not only for her exceptional talent, which he said many people possess, but also on having the "drive, discipline and ambition to apply that talent," which Beebe said is a rarer quality.
As one of the largest scholarship programs in the country, the Buick Achievers Program rewards students who excel both in the classroom and in the community, but lack the financial resources to pursue higher education, according to the press release. The program is distinguished by its renewable aspect. By the end of 2012, the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program expects to have funded almost $13 million for deserving students.
Eligibility was expanded this year from first-time college-bound students to also include current undergraduates. With nearly 50 percent of college students dropping out before completing their education due to a lack of financial resources, this expansion is designed to help students cross the finish line. Student loan debt now totals more than $1 trillion, according to the press release.
"Arkansas' next big step in educational excellence is increasing our number of college graduates," Beebe said. "To see students with the drive and motivation that Kayla possesses gain support from private initiatives like the Buick Achiever Scholarship only bolsters that effort. Supporting Arkansas college students will support our state for decades to come."
In addition to Henderson's scholarship, 10 other Arkansas students received a one-time $2,000 award, according to the press release.
The GM Foundation has provided more than $26 million in education-related initiatives since 2005, the release stated.
sMore information is available at www.buickachievers.com 
* Published earlier today in the Saline Courier. A selection of our local stories is available here on the website, but for complete and current coverage of news and events in Saline County, subscribe to our print edition.