Bonsai Finance Veteran’s Scholarship 2018 Winner
Name: Austin Thombs
Major: Mechanical Engineering
We’re thrilled to announce the recipient of the $2,500 Bonsai Finance 2018 Veteran’s Scholarship, Austin Thombs.
“The scholarship committee was especially impressed with Austin’s academic achievements, involvement in the FIRST robotics competition, and perseverance on the field of play.” said Britton Smith, CEO and founder of Bonsai Finance. “As a prior military officer, it gives me great pride to award this to the son of a highly decorated 20+ year Marine Corps Veteran. We look forward to following Austin’s achievements as he heads off to college next year.”
Austin´s continuous search for excellence and hard work has led him to exceed the expectations of his coaches and colleagues on the sports field and to stand out in the classroom with his academic achievements.
You can read more about Austin in his inspiring essay below.
My parents have instilled in me a drive for excellence in every aspect of my life, from academics and athletics to extracurriculars and community service. My father, a retired Marine, played a key role in exemplifying to me the qualities of leadership, commitment, and integrity that I still hold to today. Once I put my mind to something, I see it through to the end, no matter the adversity and difficulty I face.
I worked hard as a member of my high school’s football team for two years, enduring hard hits and grueling workouts as a member of the practice squad. At only 170 pounds, my coaches and teammates considered me far too undersized to play my position, but in the first game of last year’s season, I finally got a chance to start. The game was against the defending state champions, and I sacked the quarterback on the first play, ultimately racking up eight tackles and three sacks against one of the top programs in the country.
Since then, I haven’t looked back, starting every game of the last two seasons and winning academic all-state honors as well as Player of the Week and Louisiana Scholar Athlete of the Week in the same week. I am also a varsity pole vaulter for my school’s track team, where I lettered in the sport my junior year after teaching myself to vault and fighting through a sprained wrist due to a snapped pole accident earlier in the season. I am returning this year with my sights set on the school record, which has stood since 1987.
My passion for excellence is perhaps even more clear through my academic endeavors. I have scored a perfect 36 on the ACT twice, as well as a perfect 1600 on the SAT, and I have been named a National Merit Semifinalist. I take the most rigorous courses available, so the course load is often very heavy, yet throughout my high school career I have maintained a 4.52 weighted GPA, and I am on pace to be valedictorian.
My most notable extracurricular involvement is in FIRST robotics. Every year we are given a new game, and we have only six weeks to build a 120-pound competition robot. The tight deadlines and time constraints present their own unique challenges. As a member of Team 1912 Combustion, I was honored to be named a Dean’s List Finalist, the most prestigious individual award in FIRST, and was invited to attend the FIRST World Championship in Houston twice. In addition to robotics, I am also involved in the National Honor Society, Ambassadors, Mu Alpha Theta, Student Council, and Beta Club.
As a member of Beta Club, I competed on the Quiz Bowl team, and we placed second in the state and qualified for nationals.