Alford wins top spot in national EAST competition

Maggie Alford of Crossett won the Hello, My Name is Interview competition at the East Conference 2020 virtual celebration, which replaced the cancelled EAST conference from March. (VAL GAUGHT/News Observer)

A student from Crossett Middle School didn’t let the pandemic stop her from competing and winning a national competition.

Maggie Alford, the daughter of Cherub and Rollin Alford, won the Hello, My Name Is Interview competition hosted by Arkansas Tech University as part of the EAST virtual natinonal  conference. 

In the spirit of the EAST program, the students, staff, and sponsors came together to #PlayOn; which was a theme established by EAST when the 24th annual EAST Conference was canceled in March.

Alford said that it was very disappointing to not get to attend her third national conference, but that winning definitely made it a year to remember.

 The EAST Conference 2020 virtual celebration took place last month during which students received recognition for winning  industry-sponsored competitions.

The EAST conference was originally established to bring four states of EAST programs together to inspire one another and celebrate growth, innovation, resiliency, personal development, and commitment to partnerships on a local and national level. Each year students grade two through 12 compete for nearly 30 opportunities to celebrate their achievements and develop their talents.

Each year, the Hello, My Name is Interview competition – hosted by Arkansas Tech University College of Business — is designed to help students practice crafting a professional cover letter and resume that displays why they are the best candidate for a general intern position.

Alford competed in the competition last year and made it as a finalist. This year she won the entire thing.

“It feels really good to win, especially since I was competing against high schoolers,” Alford said.

The competition is not separated out by ages and any EAST student grade five through 12 may enter.

Alford said she chose the category because she really enjoyed competing in it last year and wanted to give it another shot.

Alford received a $250 Amazon gift card and a basket of prizes from Arkansas Tech. She said she is particularly fond of a light up cup that bears the university’s logo.

Because of social distancing guidelines, there was no traditional awards ceremony, so instead she learned of her award via text from her teacher.

She said she immediately logged onto the conference Website to find her name among the list of winners posted.

“I wish we could have had the awards ceremony because they are really interesting, but I was still really excited to win,” Alford said.

Visit the EAST Conference website to learn more competition winners and the #EASTcon20 #PlayOn Virtual Celebration. 

EAST is a service and technology program. In the EAST program, students are given tools to be empowered with technology by encouraging critical thinking and creative problem solving and by engaging them in positive, real-world experiences. 

EAST advocates lifelong learning and community service so that participants can become positive agents of change to improve the world around them. 

A nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, EAST currently serves more than 250 schools in four states. 

Additionally, EAST offers training to students and professional development for EAST educators and all classroom teachers, regardless of subject area or grade level. 

To learn more about EAST, visit

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