Hillsboro student wins full ride to WSU

Hillsboro High School senior Annaliese Jorgenson (center holding check wearing white and black) was recently surprised and presented with a 2024 Rudd Foundation Scholarship which covers all expenses including tuition, room and board, books, supplies and other costs at Wichita State University.

Annaliese Jorgenson thought she was having an ordinary school day on a recent day at the end of March when she was in choir and received a huge surprise.

The room was suddenly filled with friends, teachers, family and officials from Wichita State University and the Rudd Foundation as Jorgenson was presented with a 2024 Rudd Foundation Scholarship which covers all expenses including tuition, room and board, books, supplies and other costs at Wichita State University.

“They came and they surprised me with this big check. All my favorite people were there,” said Jorgenson.

Each Rudd Scholarship recipient receives a full-ride scholarship and considerable networking and coaching support. All 40 Rudd scholars are from Kansas and will attend Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University or Wichita State University. Jorgenson is one of 15 Kansas high schoolers who make up the 7th cohort of Rudd Scholars who have chosen to attend Wichita State University.

“We’re excited to welcome our seventh class of Shocker Rudd Scholars to Wichita State in the fall,” said Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president, strategic enrollment management and undergraduate admissions. “The Rudd Foundation has blessed these students and their families with a gift which allows them to pursue all their collegiate hopes and dreams in a debt-free, powerful mentor-and-coaching environment.”

Jorgenson went through an extensive process to apply for the scholarship.

“In February I filled out the application, which was two essays, two letters of recommendation and a lot of other forms and stuff you have to fill out,” said Jorgenson. “Then I did an in-person interview. They chose 70 finalists out of 700 applicants to do in-person interviews. It was good. Lots of fun.”

Jorgenson was surprised when she found out she had won.

“I feel excited to be chosen. I feel blessed, very honored. I feel like I’ve put in a lot of hard work, and it’s finally starting to pay off. Very excited for this opportunity,” she said.

Parents Jeff and Joanne are thankful for the scholarship as well.

“She is our fifth and last child going to college. And so there were significant hurdles with the other ones paying for their college, making sure we could keep the debt level down and things like that. So it’s a blessing that she’s worked so hard to apply for this and other scholarships to try to pay for the bulk of the college. This really paid off in that respect in that we’re not going to have to pay for any of this,” said Jeff. “It’s just a huge blessing.”

Annaliese has participated in many sports and activities throughout high school.

“Freshman year I played volleyball and basketball and golf. Sophomore, junior and senior year, I played tennis and golf. I’ve been involved in theater, the musicals, student council, choir, state choirs, Spirit and Celebration, Leos, National Honors Society, mentoring program with the littles and forensics,” said Annaliese. “I will be competing at state in forensics in May.”

“She is very self-motivated and self-directed. We’ve not had to push her along. We’ve never had to ask her if she has homework at night. We’ve never had to do anything like that. She’s very self-driven,” said Joanne.

Annaliese says her favorite thing about high school has been being involved in so much.

“I’m just happy that I was able to play all the different sports I wanted until I found the right ones. And do speech and debate and be in student council and have all these incredible opportunities. I feel like everybody at our school is supportive and positive all the time,” said Annaliese.

Her teachers are excited for her as well.

“Annaliese stands out among other students I have taught over 22 years. I recall overhearing a conversation she was having with other students about why she always puts forth extra effort in her classes, and she said, ‘I just love to learn new things!’ It brings a smile to my face just to consider how enjoyable it is to teach a student with such excitement for learning,” said math teacher Adam North.

Choir Director Lynn Just added, “Annaliese has been a student of mine for 10 years. I’ve enjoyed watching her grow as a musician and as a person. It is obvious by her work ethic, leadership, positivity and spunk that she will be successful in whatever career path she chooses, and that others will want to be around her and emulate her.”

According to their website, the Rudd Foundation Scholarship Program is a full-ride program promoting grit, determination and work ethic. I’d have to say that the committee made a great selection in choosing Annaliese as one of its recipients for this prestigious award. She not only possesses but exudes all three traits,” said teacher Scott O’Hare. “She strives for excellence in all that she does, which has provided opportunities to display those characteristics that the Rudd Foundation is based on. It’s very cliche, but the sky’s the limit for this young lady.”

And while she has enjoyed high school and her experiences there, she is very much looking forward to college and majoring in mechanical engineering.

“I would love to be an aerospace engineer. I’d like to work for a company like Boeing or Cessna to be an aircraft designer, but I’ll be majoring in mechanical engineering and not necessarily aerospace. So I’ll also have some other opportunities to be able to do vehicle design and stuff like that, too,” said Annaliese. “It’s very exciting.”

She is ready to spread her wings and head to Wichita, but she won’t forget where she is from.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity. I’m thankful for everybody throughout the community who’s supported me, come to my sporting events and read about me in the paper or come to like musicals and shows and stuff. I’m just really thankful for such a great community in Hillsboro and the supportiveness,” said Annaliese.

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