ALTON - Emma Barham, a senior at Alton High School, is an Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club Student of the Month. She is the daughter of Brian and Abigail Barham.

Emma BarhamThroughout high school, Emma has maintained a GPA over 4.0, with a current GPA of 4.398. She maintained this GPA while taking honors classes whenever she could, as well as taking AP classes to prepare herself for college. With her GPA, she has placed in the top 8% of her graduating class, being recognized as a 2022 silver medallion alongside around 50 peers, as well as recognized as an Illinois State Scholar. Her music career has been acknowledged as she was involved in the Tri-M Honor society this school year.

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She also has been honored as a Proctor and Gamble scholar and a Meridian Scholar through SIUE. The Meridian Scholarship is SIUE’s premier and most competitive academic award. For fall 2022, close to 1,300 applicants were considered and 210 were invited to interview. Meridian Scholars are 20 selected students out of these 1300 candidates. With this honor, she was awarded four years of full tuition, fees, and room and board. Recipients of this honor reflect strong leadership, commitment to service, and academic excellence.

When school and life become stressful, she finds peace through music. Emma has played the violin for 7 years and finds that music is one of the best ways to feel freedom from the baggage she carries throughout the day. Emma is in the high school's highest orchestral program, the symphonic orchestra. She also plays in other orchestra-related programs, including pit orchestra and the chamber orchestra. She enjoys working with children, whether that be in the church or with families she babysits for. She has been the priority babysitter for many local families for many years.

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One of her greatest passions is serving others in the community. One way she volunteers is through her church, The Bridge. Whether that be working in the nursery, greeting the congregation, or volunteering for outreach events, Emma always finds somewhere to serve. One of her favorite organizations to work with is the local mom group called MOPS, which stands for mothers of preschoolers. She has worked beside this organization since she was in middle school.

She provides childcare over the summer, helps at events, and babysit for many of the families in the organization. She also finds fun ways to share her talents with the community through music. Her favorite ensembles, pit orchestra, and chamber orchestra, both provide free orchestral music for the community and school events. While the majority of her time after school is spent in the orchestra room, you can find Emma volunteering in the hallways and participating in volunteer services, such as the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the math team.

She enjoys spending her time with children in the foster care system, as her family, as well as many in the community, are designated foster homes. Emma enjoys providing free childcare for these families when they need a break or an emergency occurs. One of her favorite opportunities she was given this summer was to go on a mission trip to Tennessee, where she built wheelchair ramps, played games with local children, and spent quality time with struggling families.

Emma plans to get a degree in social work at SIUE and make a direct impact on the lives of foster youth as a caseworker by advocating and loving these kids. As a caseworker, she will have a direct impact on the foster care system and the children in it. So, as she goes to college to get her degree in social work, she plans to go beyond and become equipped to aid and love these children. Emma plans to advocate for these kids, whether that regards their health, their adoption, or their parental rights.

Anna and Emma each received plaques recognizing their achievement from Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club President-Elect Antione Williams.

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