The five new Northeast Tennessee scholars — three from the Tri-Cities — are Sam Brashears of Sullivan North High School; Matthew Grimm of Daniel Boone High School; Dustin Howser of Tennessee High School; Raini Rowenhorst of David Crockett High School; and Katie Shields of Pigeon Forge High School.
The Niswonger Foundation, founded by Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger, announced the five seniors Wednesday. They join 18 Niswonger Scholars for a total of 23, not counting 44 alumni.
The program takes the brightest young leaders in Northeast Tennessee, provides them the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them for their chosen career, and supplements that education with four years of leadership development activities, a news release said.
The plan is to see Niswonger Scholars come back to the region with not only strong earning potential, but an entrepreneurial spirit and overwhelming desire to return their talents and energy to this region, bringing exceptional leadership ability, exemplary personal character, and a strong commitment to building community, according to the news release.
Samuel “Sam” Lucas Brashears from North is ranked first in his class and has a 4.0 grade point average.
He has served as vice president and president of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), placing second in the HOSA Bowl Regional Competition and fifth at the 2012 state convention. He is senior class vice president.
Sam has received the Sullivan North Scholar Athlete Award for the past three years, and has been recognized as “Top 5 Member” of the Tennessee Association of Student Councils’ “4-Star Student Council.”
He has participated in varsity cross country, track and basketball. He is the founding member of the North Robotics Team.
His plans are to attend Wake Forest University, major in biology, and attend medical school. Sam is the son of Candra Brashears of Kingsport and Samuel Brashears of Whitesburg, Ky.
Among the other scholars:
• Matthew Johann Grimm is a student at Washington County’s Boone with a 4.0, active in community and church work and plans to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing or a science-related field, and later attend medical school. He is the son of Calvin and Elaine Grimm of Gray.
• Dustin Cole Howser attends Tennessee High School in Bristol, Tenn. He is ranked first in his class and has a 4.0 and is an active guitarist and musician. He is to attend Vanderbilt University, majoring in mechanical engineering. He is the son of Tim and Darlene Howser of Bristol, Tenn.
• Raini Mae Rowenhorst is a student at Washington County’s Crockett High and is active in the Future Farmers of America. Raini’s plans are to attend UT Knoxville and major in psychology. She is the daughter of Corby and Diane Rowenhorst of Jonesborough.
• Kaitlyn “Katie” Joy Shields attends Pigeon Forge High School, is ranked first in her class and has a 4.0 and is active in academics, athletics and community volunteer work. Katie plans to attend UT Knoxville and pursue a degree in agricultural education. She is the daughter of Brigitte Shields of Pigeon Forge and William Shields of Sevierville.