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LHS Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship

By Jennifer Higgins

Liberty High School senior Rhylie Reynolds has been awarded a KC Scholars scholarship, for up to $10,000 per year for five years of post-secondary education.  Formed as part of the Kauffman Foundation, KC Scholars is designed to provide an opportunity to those who might not be able to attend college.

“KC Scholars is aimed for students who come from minority families, lower income, and first generation college attendees, as many of these people  might not have the same opportunities to further their education. Neither of my parents went to college, so I’m a first generation college student. I’m the first person in my entire family wanting to go to college,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds received an invitation from her counselors to apply and was behind in getting her application submitted, but with recommendation letters from Ms. Stark and Ms. Muench, two essays, and her transcript full of extracurricular activities, she was selected.

“I’m currently in the NCaps program, in the medical health care strand. NCaps is designed to build professional skills in a high school setting with shadowing professionals and has helped me narrow my career path and focus on what I want to do,” Reynolds said.

Along with NCaps, Reynolds has been an integral part of the Robotics program during her tenure at Liberty High School.

“Robotics is my favorite. I joined my sophomore year, because I didn’t belong to a place. I joined with an interest in engineering and become engulfed in the family atmosphere. It’s such a great club that’s underestimated in the school community. Before last season, Robotics had never made it past semifinals, but we went past that and set higher expectations. Seeing something you made and built yourself, like a robot, is incredibly satisfying,” Reynolds said.

Robotics sponsor Bridget Stark said when she first met Reynolds, she appeared to be fairly quiet and reserved, but then she observed her cheering enthusiastically for the team at a competition.

“Another favorite memory of mine occurred last year at the Arkansas Regional Robotics competition. In the limited time between matches, Rhylie could consistently be found in the team pit, confidently making quick repairs to the robot. Several students worked together between matches, and Rhylie was always one of them. It was clear that both the students and adults on the team respected Rhylie’s ideas and ability. As a result of her hardwork and determination, Rhylie was selected to serve as the CEO of the team and is a model of confident, female leadership in a team mainly made up of young men. She has become an invaluable help to me in my role as a mentor on the team and does a graceful job of balancing her many other interests and responsibilities with her passion for robotics,” Stark said.

While Reynolds is currently the CEO of the Robotics team, she is also involved in other activities.

“I’m the Projects Coordinator for Spanish Honor Society; we installed a door to the greenhouse and renovated the space, so it’s open to not just the science department, but open to the whole school as an outdoor learning space. I’m also in Key Club, where we have to do 40 hours of community service. I volunteer with Inclusion Connections, which is a camp that has activities for kids with disabilities,” Reynolds said.

With her KC Scholars scholarship, Reynolds plans to attend UMKC and major in biology, to focus on laboratory clinical studies in animal research.