NewsWatauga County Schools

WHS Seniors Receive Lenoir-Rhyne Presidential Scholarship

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 3:39 pm

A special ceremony took place at Watauga High School the morning of Thursday, March 7 at Watauga High School to celebrate seniors Anna McGuire and Keowen “Keo” Arguello. Both students were selected to receive Lenoir-Rhyne University’s most prestigious scholarship, the Presidential Scholarship. 

Out of approximately 135 applications considered, only five were awarded in total. The award is valued at approximately $124,000. 

“Today, here at Watauga High School and Innovation Academy, we can honor Keowen and Anna and their hard work not only at the high school level but in their interview skills,” said WHS/WIA Principal Scott Strickler at the ceremony. 

He added that being two out of five to be awarded this scholarship is a great statement on how hard they worked throughout their high school career. It also speaks to how the staff and their peers helped to prepare them to be excellent students. 

“We wish them nothing but the best in their collegiate career,” Strickler said. 

Dean of LRU’s Fritz Honor College Dr. Jeff Vahlbusch and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Morgan Logan were present for the surprise ceremony to honor McGuire and Arguello. Also present were members of WHS administration, Student Services staff and their family members. 

Arguello and McGuire will be joining the new Fritz Honor College as part of their scholarship award. Vahlbusch will be working with them personally in a small group setting to help lead and design the college.

Present for Arguello were his mother Marianna, father Kevin and aunt/Godmother Mimi Araica. In attendance to celebrate McGuire were her mother JuLisa Janow and brother Stinnett McGuire. 

“I am really honored to get this, I was not expecting it,” McGuire said. “I was really happy to meet everyone when I went to the interview.”

Arguello shared that he also was not expecting to receive this award.

“I feel like an Arguello, that is a big quote in my family.”

During the ceremony, Vahlbusch shared that he was in charge of the meeting of the faculty and staff interviewers after Scholarship Day. He went to the board and asked them to give feedback on the top candidates they talked to that day. He shared that any time someone added something wonderful about a candidate, he put an asterisk beside their name. Both Arguello and McGuire received two asterisks beside their name. 

At the ceremony, both students received a letter from LRU as well as a bag containing a t-shirt and ballcap.  They proudly put on their shirts to pose for photos together and with their families in front of a photo wall assembled by the high school staff to capture the moment. 

“We are so proud of Keo and Anna. They have worked so hard and are excellent representatives of WHS,” said WHS school counselor Laura Turner. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish at LR.” 

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