• Last modified 346 days ago (July 13, 2023)


Top scholarship winners head to KU, K-State

Staff writer

Mia Spencer and Brooklyn Smith will head to rival colleges this fall, but the same scholarship will pay their tuition.

Spencer graduated from Marion High School, and Smith graduated from Centre this spring.

Spencer will start classes at Kansas State University, majoring in accounting. Smith, who is pre-med, will study health sciences at the University of Kansas.

Both learned about the national Hagan Scholarship — based on merit and need — from their school counselors. Both women are beyond grateful.

The scholarship pays $60,000 — up to $7,500 a semester — over four years. Both said they couldn’t have afforded to attend the colleges of their choice without the help.

Smith almost didn’t apply. However, her counselor, Maranda McMichael wouldn’t have that, Smith said.

“She definitely pushed me very hard to apply for it,” she said. “I kept saying, ‘I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to get it, so I’m not going to do it.’ She pushed me hard to finish applying. Nobody ever thinks they’re going to get something like that.”

Spencer will be the first person in her family to attend college.

School counselor Max Venable told her about the opportunity.

“I really appreciate my counselor,” she said.

She was on spring break when she found out she’d received the scholarship.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “The first person I told was my sister.”

Spencer has attended orientation at K-State. Smith will go to KU’s orientation this week.

Both will live in dorms this fall.

“Right now, I’m excited,” Spencer said.

She took business classes throughout high school, “and I stuck with accounting. That one was my favorite.”

She’s been doing work-study in accounting at St. Luke Hospital. She also worked at Arlie’s Collision Specialists.

Smith works at Parkside Homes and Salem Home in Hillsboro as a certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant.

She’s not yet sure where she wants to go to medical school, but KU is a possibility.

For now, she’s concentrating on undergraduate work.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with my choice.”

Last modified July 13, 2023