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Outstanding Young Citizen awarded $5K

| Friday, May 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Tribune-Review
Paula Jasper, (R), of Indiana, proudly pins a boutonniere on her son, Austin Jasper, a senior at Indiana Senior High School, an Outstanding Young Citizen gold medalist and recipient of the $5000.00 scholarship award, during the Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen dinner, held at the Ramada Inn in Greensburg on Thursday evening, May 2, 2013.

For the past few years, Austin Jasper has managed to intersect his passions and volunteerism as an Indiana Area Senior High School student.

“I love what I do and I try to integrate what I love” into helping the community, Jasper said Thursday.

That's one of the reasons why the 18-year-old senior was selected as the winner of a $5,000 scholarship during last night's Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen Awards banquet.

Fifty Greensburg area juniors and seniors were honored during the banquet for their academic achievements, leadership and community service. The students were nominated by friends, family and school officials and then asked to submit a resume to be considered for an award. An outside panel of judges selected the top 10 students to receive special honors — a gold medal — at Thursday's banquet.

Those receiving medals in addition to Jasper were:

• Evan Bair, senior at Hempfield Area.

• Mikayla Baker, senior at Ligonier Valley.

• Brenna Burke, senior at Greensburg Central Catholic.

• Kenneth Clark Jr., junior at Greensburg Salem.

• Alan Gray, senior at Derry Area.

• Davis Simon, junior at Southmoreland.

• Haley Stapleton, senior at Indiana Area.

• Mary Theresa Taormina, junior at Greensburg Central Catholic.

• Ian Williams Whiten, senior at Charleroi Area.

For the first time, nominated seniors were asked to submit an essay and letters of recommendation to be considered for the $5,000 scholarship.

In his essay, Jasper said he has grown up volunteering in the community and has expanded that role since reaching high school. He founded and is president of his high school's Kiva Club that has assisted in the establishment of more than 40 entrepreneurial businesses in third-world countries by providing interest-free loans.

Jasper, a right winger on his high school's hockey team, coordinated two fundraisers held during hockey games to benefit breast cancer research.

In a keynote address, WPXI reporter Courtney Brennan told the students to take life as it comes and develop a network of friends and family.

“I know all your parents must be very, very proud of you,” she said. “This is a really big deal, this is a really big honor.”

Ron and Paula Jasper snapped pictures and congratulated their son after he was named the scholarship winner. They instilled a love for volunteerism in him that has blossomed and expanded globally after Austin Jasper reached high school.

Austin Jasper plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and major in finance.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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