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Austin a finalist for Presidential Scholars Program
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Van Buren County High School senior Gracie Rae Louise Austin has been selected as a finalist in the class of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. 

“When I found out I was a semifinalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program I was at a loss for words,” said Austin. “I am overjoyed and excited that this opportunity has been presented to me. This opportunity has showed me hard work does pay off. I am so thankful for this recognition and plan to make the most out of it and not take one second for granted. It is an honor to have made it this far in the selection process.” 

She is one of 621 semifinalists selected from nearly 5,300 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in 2019. Statewide, Austin was one of 14 students chosen and the only student from Van Buren County. 

Inclusion in the program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Students are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

Austin has a GPA of 4.352 and will be graduating eighth in her class. During high school, she was dually enrolled at Motlow State Community College where she obtained 18 college credit hours, as well as being highly involved at her school. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball all four years of high school while being committed to maintaining academic excellence. 

The senior is also a member of 4-H, FFA, FCA, HOSA, FBLA, Spanish Club, VBC Commodities, VBC Junior Fair Board, BETA Club, and participated in journalism for a semester. She is currently the FFA reporter and is the Central Region 4-H All Star Chief. 

After graduation she has been accepted to Tennessee Tech where she will be attending this fall to pursue a degree in nursing. Upon completion, she hopes to further her education in nursing at UT Knoxville to become a nurse anesthetist.

Scholars will be announced in May. Winners are invited to Washington, D.C. in June to receive the Presidential Scholar Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities.