Outstanding Student

Union High School senior Brittany Baker, center, earned the Outstanding Student Award for 2017. The award was presented at the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet Saturday, Feb. 3. With her, from left, are Josie Arens, 2016 award recipient, and her family, Jeff, Christy and Trevor Baker.  Missourian Photo.

A humble, bright and hardworking student leader, Brittany Baker, was honored with the 2017 Outstanding Student award at the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet Saturday night.

About 170 people attended the 47th annual celebration to recognize Union residents for their commitment and dedication to the community and others.

The 2016 award winner, Josie Arens, introduced Baker, who is a senior at Union High School.

“There’s a saying that leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart than a set of things to do,” she said. “For tonight’s recipient, the saying is practically a way of life.”

Baker, who was surprised by the award, said a quick thank you as she fought back tears.

Baker is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Council and was a member of competitive cheer squads, for which she earned a varsity letter her freshman and sophomore years.

She has worked at Kids in Motion as a gymnastics and cheer coach and volunteered as a little league cheer coach for four years.

Baker has been inducted into the International Thespian Society and had a lead role in the school’s musical “Mary Poppins.”

Baker has volunteered at numerous events from blood drives to Project United, Salvation Army bell ringing, Special Olympics bowling and was the community service co-chair of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America).

She led tours of the high school to eighth-grade students, helping them get acquainted before beginning their high school years. She also is on the planning committee and serves as a mentor in the Right Start freshman orientation program.

“With the energy and charisma that she puts into all of her work, it isn’t a wonder that she has twice been nominated for student of the month, twice voted class president and chosen for the senior superlative of most spirited,” Arens said. “And yet, there is a grace within her leadership that disguises the hours of hard work that go on behind the scenes.”

Baker also has achieved high academic success, receiving the Outstanding Student Achievement Award and an academic letter for two years each. She has been on the merit honor roll for six consecutive semesters.

Last year, she was honored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis with the school’s Distinguished Achievement Award for excellence in Science.

“Probably the most notable thing about this individual is her involvement in the Union High School Student Council,” said Arens, noting that she has been actively involved in the organization throughout her high school career.

She currently is Student Council president and has served as vice president and secretary. She has participated in the Missouri Association of Student Council’s summer leadership workshops for the past four years and was a student leader in the 2017 Region 6 Vision Conference.

“Whether it is pride in her school and community, the joy of being involved in something greater, service to others or determination to follow her passions, her actions remind us that with a little energy, hard work and passion, anyone at any age can take the initiative and take the lead,” Arens said. “With the experience and foundation she has already built for herself, there is no telling the ways this leader will inspire those around her far into the future.”