Hall of Honor Gala

Proceeds from the Gala support the foundation’s mission

The 2023 Hall of Honor Inductees

Jim Owen (1947-2013), Distinguished Educator
Leona Walton, Distinguished Alumna
Crystal Kemp, Friend of the Distric

Stay tuned for Conway Public Schools Foundation’s Hall of Honor Gala 2024.

You can support the tradition of the Hall of Honor and show appreciation for the ongoing fidelity, honor, and service of our 2023 Hall of Honor Inductees by giving to our Endowment in their honor.

Jim Owen (1947-2013) inspired students of all ability levels for 28 years at Conway High School. He greeted students in his history, AP World History, and AP European History classes with, “Greetings my wards, my lambs.”

Mr. Owen influenced thousands of students over the years, many of whom became teachers. His impact was felt outside of the school, too. So much so that in 1989 he was awarded Civil Libertarian of the Year by the Arkansas ACLU. Says a former student, “Mr. Owen transformed history from a laundry list of facts into a vibrant narrative. In his classroom, we were wilful captives. Though our bodies were bound to desks, our imaginations were freed by Mr. Owen’s stories. Under his leadership, we pushed back the boundaries of what we had formerly considered to be our intellectual limits. Mr. Owen is without a doubt the most inspirational teacher that I ever had. I am proud to forever be a ward and lamb.”

Leona Walton (Conway High School, Class of 1974) was among the group of students who were the first to integrate into the Conway Public School system. In 1968, she left her Pine Street School and began 7th grade at the newly integrated Conway Junior High. While at Conway High School, Leona participated in and led a number of student-led organizations which were responsible for understanding and maintaining relationships between black and white students on the campus. She was the Treasurer of the American Black Culture Club and on the Black-White Human Relations Committee. Since leaving Conway Public Schools, Leona has continued to be a voice for the Pine Street Community and co-founded the 15-year-old Pine Street Backpack Program and serves as the board president of the Pine Street Community Museum. Her friends have been known to say she is the “go-to person when someone in the area needs help.”

Crystal Kemp has had a bold and steadfast involvement with leadership programs for Conway students for almost three decades. She believes that if we introduce ways for students to “plug in” at an early age, it makes all the difference in their lives and the vibrancy of our community. In 1996, Crystal created the Faulkner County Youth Leadership Institute (now known as the Conway Area Youth Leadership Institute, or CAYLI which she still volunteers for today. Crystal also wore the “band mom” title proudly and was actively involved with the Conway Band program for 12 years, even serving on the Conway Band Booster Board for four of those years. During her tenure, Crystal led the fundraising efforts to replace the 20-year-old band uniforms. Crystal was a Girl Scouts leader for eighteen years and has worked with over one hundred students in grades K-12. Thanks to Crystal’s work with Conway Corp, she has been involved with the Energy Smart Student contest, STEM Nights, and presenting sponsor of the Conway School Districts Teacher Fair. Her peers say “Crystal believes that teenagers are not the problem, they are the solution.”

A gift is a meaningful way to recognize and celebrate our current Inductees or to acknowledge teachers, students, alumni, parents, and administrators who significantly have impacted your life, our community, or the Conway Public School District.

Proceeds from the Gala support the foundation’s mission to partner with teachers to enrich the learning environment for students by funding innovative programs and resources that stimulate creativity, promote excellence, and enable life-long learning.

If you or your company are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Hall of Honor Gala, please contact us and we will get back with you shortly.