By Kyle Jillson | November 9 2012 13:34

Texas teens get help with their college educations from Friends of NRA

Friends of NRA scholarship recipient Sara Hedley of Rochelle, Texas

For the third year in a row, the West Texas Friends of NRA has given out scholarships to youth shooters from all over West Texas. This year's applicants made for the toughest decisions yet by the West Texas Friends of NRA College Scholarship Committee. It was tough, but the committee finally narrowed it down to their three choices.

Our winners this year come from all over the region; from the Panhandle of Texas to the Texas Hill Country and out into the western reaches of the area.

In third place, Austan Paulk comes from a community so small most people probably haven't heard of it or could locate it on a map - Imperial, Texas. He was the President of his National Honor Society for the past two years, is a past-president of the Imperial FFA Shooting Sports Team, competes with the International Defensive Pistol Association, and still has time to attend 3-gun competitions in the area. On top of all of this, Austan graduated high school this past May already having earned 30 hours of college credit. Austan started attending Texas State Technical College in Waco this past fall and is working towards his Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Sciences.

Our runner-up, receiving a $1,500.00 check towards his college education, is Cody Lake of Heresford, Texas. In high school Cody was the Club President of his 4-H Shooting Team, a member of both the Mighty Maroon Marching Band and the FFA, and a competitor in the Men's League Shooting Sports. Cody has also done mission work for his church, helped mentor Freshmen, and placed 1st in the District 2 4-H Shooting Competition. If that weren't impressive enough, he accomplished all of this while being a 4-year member of the National Honor Society. This fall Cody enrolled in West Texas A&M University.

Last but far from least, the top scholarship winner this year is Sara Hedley from Rochelle, Texas. This young lady seems to have done it all. Her list of accomplishments include being a NRA Distinguished Expert in Standing Light Rifle, NRA Sharpshooter and Expert Qualification, placing 1st in the Intermediate Division in 3-D Archery, and 6th Place in Intermediate Light Rifle at the Texas 4-H Shooting Sports Extravaganza. Sara's accomplishments in school were even more impressive and spanned almost two pages. Among her participation in school activities, Sara was involved in the National Honor Society and sat as the Yearbook Editor.

While doing all of this, the lowest grade Sara received in High School was an 'A.' Did we forget to mention she was a Homecoming Queen and knows how to clean and quarter a deer? Sara is now attending Texas A&M University and has received the top scholarship award of $2,500.00 to help with her education.

And that's the 2012 'class' of West Texas Friends of NRA college scholarship winners. Friends of NRA strives to continue our culture of the shooting sports and with programs like these it's looking very bright. It can't be done on our own, though, and we need your help. Each year these scholarships and nearly $200,000 in other grants is raised locally at Friends of NRA events. And it's like that all over the United States. Go support your local Friends of NRA committees and help ensure the future of the shooting sports. If you don't have a committee in your area, contact your local Field Representative to see about starting one.

Congratulations to all of this year's applicants. The West Texas Friends of NRA wants you to know that this year's decisions were the toughest yet.

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