LHS senior wins Interscholastic Star Award


Rachel Sheppard was awarded the Interscholastic Star Award. Photo courtesy of Sheppard.

Rachel Sheppard, a senior at Lewiston High School, is well known around her school and community as a dedicated worker with a strong work ethic. Last year, her commitment was rewarded as she received the Interscholastic Star Award on the 5A level from the Idaho High School Activities Association. This award gave Sheppard $1000 in scholarship money to use at the school of her choice and provided $500 for the school.
The Interscholastic Star Award has been awarded by the Idaho High School Activities Association since 1992, and it recognizes students who are involved in a variety of activities within high school. Sheppard is currently involved in FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), Key Club, the Bengals Purr, Band, tennis, youth groups and volunteering.
The process of applying for the scholarship includes a submission of all high school activities, a written essay by the applicant and an interview for those who are selected as a top candidate. Corey Williams, assistant principal and athletic director at LHS, was in charge of handing out applications after teachers anonymously nominated students for the award. Williams was excited to have an LHS student win and to have the money for the school. ‘“She’s representing all of us, she represents our staff, our students, our community… she represents the Bengals,” Williams said.
Sheppard’s experience in submitting the application showed her perseverance and work ethic. Because Sheppard was out of town at an FCCLA conference the week the application was handed out, she got it the day it was due. Williams told Sheppard that it was not necessary for her to fill out the form, but Sheppard would not let this opportunity pass her by. With the permission of her teachers, she spent two class periods crafting an essay and documenting her accomplishments in high school. Sheppard was so grateful to have educators who knew it was important for her to apply for the scholarship, even though she had little time to prepare. She found out a few weeks later that she was selected as one of the top students in the district, which meant she had to be interviewed. Sheppard confidently answered the questions in her interview, which was over Zoom, and felt good about it afterwards. When she found out she won the scholarship, Sheppard jumped up and down in Driskill’s office, so excited to have won the award.
One reason Sheppard feels motivated to be so involved is because she wants to make connections and make a difference in other people’s lives as well as having them make a difference in her life. “I have been given so many opportunities in life, and I don’t want to waste them,” Sheppard said. The most important aspects of her life include her family, her friends and her faith. She feels lucky to have a supportive family and friends that motivate her to be the best she can be, and she wants to make sure that the kindness she has received gets passed on to others in her life.
Many teachers have helped Sheppard move forward with her academics. Some teachers she especially appreciates include Justin Miller (seventh-grade English teacher), Jamie Bakker (relationships and AP Language teacher), Brenden Burns (band teacher), David Cornelia (Math 147 teacher), Brent Jacobs (Algebra 2 teacher) and Tom Leachman (Honors biology and anatomy teacher). She feels so loved and is so grateful for the challenges and support that her teachers have provided. Her teachers agree that Sheppard is an outstanding student. “She always wants to do her best, and she’s always one of the top students because of that. She’s got a work ethic that is just amazing, and she is always wanting to go beyond and take information that we learn and take it to a deeper level of understanding,” Tom Leachman said. Having had Sheppard in college-level classes, Leachman has seen how hard Rachel is willing to work and how she is willing to go above and beyond in any assignment.
Sheppard highly recommends getting involved in the community. Her top recommendations included FCCLA, KEY club, music programs, sports programs, Distinguished Young Women (DYW), Leachman’s classes and any other club or way to be connected to people. “Taking opportunities to be with people and make friends is so important and makes your life more fulfilling and valuable,” Sheppard said.
She is excited about senior year and all the friendships that it is going to bring. After high school, Sheppard is planning on going to college. She has been leaning toward Grand Canyon University and Whitworth, wanting to stay close to family but also wanting to go to a good school. Her ideal major changes frequently due to her variety of interests, but she thinks she will end up studying a field of biochemistry, specifically molecular biology.
“You’re not yourself by yourself,” Sheppard said, quoting one of her favorite sayings. She believes that connection is one of the most important aspects of life, and hopes that she is able to emphasize that part of the community in her future. “She has the whole world ahead of her,” Leachman said. “Whatever she decides her interests are, she will ultimately be successful at anything she decides to do.”
Editor’s Note: While Sheppard is on staff with the Purr, this story was written solely due to Sheppard’s accomplishment.