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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee high school to Ivy League college

  • Brooke Severson, a Shawnee high school senior, has received the Gates Millennium Scholarship and will be attending Columbia in the fall.
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  • Brooke Severson, a Shawnee high school senior, has received the Gates Millennium Scholarship and will be attending Columbia in the fall.
    "We are very proud of her," said her uncle, Brad Hodgens.
    The Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is a full ride to the university of her choice for the duration of her college career, isn't the only scholarship Brooke received. She also received the Valedictorian Scholarship from Oklahoma University, the Centennial Scholarship from the University of Rhode Island, the $1,000 scholarship from OBU for being an academic letter jacket recipient along with the Trustee Scholarship from OBU, and the President's Gold scholarship from Baylor University. Columbia is the school she decided on attending.
    "When I received the notification that I would be receiving the Gates Scholarship I was shocked, flattered, excited, overwhelmed, and very, very happy," said Brooke.
    Brooke is involved in the National Honor Society, Tri-Hi-Y, S.O.S., and the varsity cheerleading squad at Shawnee while also working part time after school.
    "Working 20 hours a week does not necessarily affect my school work; I just had to improve my time management skills," she said.
    Brooke said she had not put much thought into attending Columbia until she applied and was accepted. She said after learning how prestigious Columbia is and visiting the university, she made her decision.
    "I am completely amazed by everything she's accomplished and I'm extremely proud of her," said her mother, Cara Hodges.
    Brooke is planning on majoring in chemistry with a pre-med track in hopes of becoming a pharmacist. She plans on staying active in some clubs and organizations but is waiting until arriving at Columbia to decide which ones to join.
    "While visiting Columbia, I fell in love with everything about it; the people, the campus, the administrative staff, and everything else imaginable," she said.
    Brooke said she would not have been able to accomplish all of the things she has without the help of her family, especially her parents and grandparents.
    "Brooke has always been quiet but determined and I am so proud of her," said her dad, Jon Severson.
    Brenda Hodges and Jay Cohen are Brooke's grandparents who live in Rhode Island. Brenda said Brooke has visited them every year and they helped to expand her vision for her future by taking her on trips and showing her not only another part of the United States, but also the world by traveling to Europe.
    "She set her goals high, stayed focused, and met them," she said.
    Brenda said they offered her a different kind of education by expanding her vision and world by taking every opportunity available to teach her something new.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Her grandpa Jay really expanded her mind by teaching her about math and the arts," she said.
    As a former superintendent of Shawnee schools, Brenda said she accredits Shawnee for helping Brooke gain the knowledge she needed to earn all her accomplishments.
    "We are so very proud of her," she said.
    Brooke will walk across the stage on May 14 and accept her diploma and then start the next chapter in her life at Columbia in the fall.

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