Paustian wins $10,000 Schlenker Scholarship

IMG 8741GRIMES, Ia. (April 28, 2023) — JHS senior Hannah Paustian thought she was just going out to get pizza with her boyfriend Friday night. But instead, she opened the front door of her house to find a whole group of people in her yard, some balloons, a yard sign with her name on it — and a big check for $10,000.

Paustian, the daughter of TJ and Jen Paustian, is the recipient of the 2023 Raymond and Marie Schlenker Scholarship — a $10,000 scholarship awarded to one Johnston High School senior each year through the Johnston Community School Foundation (JCSF). She will use the scholarship toward her studies in the medical field at the University of Iowa.  

“This scholarship would do so much more than help me pay for college,” Paustian said in her application. “This scholarship would allow me the opportunities to pursue hands-on research, shadowing, and possible internships at the hospital after my classes at college. This means I could spend more time learning about and studying medicine, finding what path I’m most passionate about, and gaining valuable experience rather than working small jobs at nights to pay for what I can.”IMG 8724

Paustian is a licensed EMT (emergency medical technician) and an accomplished gymnast. While she is no longer competing due to injuries, she is now working as a gymnastics coach. During her high school years, her activities have also included volunteering with Special Olympics and Meals from the Heartland. 

“My commitments outside of high school have played a large role in shaping my character and providing me with valuable lessons I am able to utilize in all aspects of my life,” she said. “Having done it since I was one year old, my sport, gymnastics, has been the biggest commitment of my life thus far. In recent years, gymnastics has taught me discipline, perseverance, and the importance of hard work, but most importantly, I have learned to stand up for and protect myself. I have grown the most as a person, not just an athlete, throughout my time in the gym, and I am grateful to be able to use my IMG 8744leadership skills and work ethic to support my educational career.”

The scholarship committee was impressed with Paustian’s character — her determination, work ethic and perseverance, her compassion and desire to help others, and her articulation of how she does the right thing, even in difficult situations.

The Schlenker Scholarship was first awarded in 2009 with a generous gift bequeathed from the estate of Raymond and Marie Schlenker. The Schlenkers had no children of their own but asked that the Johnston Community School Foundation use the gift to continue to benefit students of the Johnston Community School District. To further the Schlenker legacy, the Foundation established a $10,000 scholarship to be given annually to one Johnston high school senior. 

High school seniors can apply for the scholarship between March and April each year. Between the Schlenker scholarship and classroom grants, JCSF has donated nearly $1 million to the students and educators across the Johnston Community School District.