Arrika Knights '08 receives Fitzwater Medallion for excellence in communication

May 8, 2008

Arrika Knights
Arrika Knights '08 with White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Marlin Fitzwater.

When she was very little, Arikka Knights would watch the news show, "60 Minutes," with her parents. She decided then that she wanted to be the next Barbara Walters.

She came to Franklin Pierce in 2004 because she knew she could get involved in news production immediately as a freshman. And because the beautiful campus reminds her of the area where she's from in Chester, Maine.

Arikka got involved immediately. As a Fitzwater scholar for four years, she has been active in all phases of news production for the Pierce Media Group - interviewing, writing, editing, reporting and producing. She is equally adept in front of the camera and behind the scenes. For two years, she has served as the news director for Franklin Pierce TV, managing the weekly half-hour news cast. She has worked with incredible dedication and leadership to improve the quality of the show and has proven to be a reliable, responsible worker who does whatever needs to be done with a big smile on her face.

A young woman of many talents and interests, Arikka has been dancing since she was four and competing in pageants since she was five. She is a talented tap dancer and was named Miss National Pre-Teen in 1999 and, last year, was the first runner-up for Miss Maine America. At Franklin Pierce, she has also served in student government and played intramural softball, basketball and volleyball. And still she is managing to graduate magna cum laude.

Arikka also has been a volunteer at Franklin Pierce. She regularly visits the Monadnock Adult Day Care Center and tutors the elderly on using the computer. She particularly enjoys working with older people, she says, maybe because she grew up surrounded by a loving family. Her grandfather is the oldest of 15 children and 12 of them live in Chester, ten on Arikka's road.

The people in this small town as well as her friends and teachers at Franklin Pierce became even more important to Arikka in the summer of 2006, when her mother was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away within three weeks. Despite her devastation, Arikka returned to school that fall and continued to fulfill her media, classroom and volunteering commitments.

Arikka was named a Pierce Media Group Fellow in 2006 and, in 2007, received the Marrer Award, which honors a junior or senior majoring in communication who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and personal achievement. This award is particularly special, Ariika says,because the recipient is chosen by the mass communications faculty.

Here citation read as follows:

Because she has demonstrated skill in all facets of journalism including reporting, editing and newsroom management...

Because she has shown incredible dedication to the field of journalism and communications ....

Because she has exhibited enthusiastic leadership in working with her fellow students and others...

And because she has demonstrated dependability and a positive attitude in the face of challenging circumstances....

Franklin Pierce is proud, on this 5th day of May, in the year 2008, to bestow upon Arikka Knights a Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication.