Early HS seniors are March's 'inspirations'

Thom Hanrahan Brownwood Bulletin Editor
Casey Jessup (left) and Quenton Winborn (center) were honored Friday as the March Students of Inspiration sponsored by the Bruner Auto Group. Bruner Auto President Greg Bruner (right) made the presentation.

Two Early High School students were honored Friday afternoon for their accomplishments and their inspiration.

Casey Jessup and Quenton Winborn will graduate from Early High School this spring. But in a ceremony at Bruner Toyota, they were first honored as the latest recipients of the Youths of Inspiration Award. The award recognizes students from area high schools who have overcome significant life circumstances and have shown the courage, discipline and stamina to fight past those obstacles to make impressive achievements in school.

Jessup has formed an interesting outlook on life, realizing she will always face ups and downs. She said she focuses on being, as she says, “bold, courageous, silly, unique, and maybe a little weird.” But more than that, she doesn’t find being like everyone else much fun.

“I feel like normal is pretty boring,” she said.

Her life has been anything but normal, as she lost her father to cancer two years ago. While she has definitely missed his guidance and spirit, she feels relieved that he escaped his intolerable pain.

She believes that people must choose whether life does things “to us” or it does things “for us” by opening doors of opportunity. Jessup realizes that her individual tragedies and difficulties are not what define her, but rather her responses to these situations will.

Jessup says that in honor of her father and because of her valued friendships, she chooses to spend every day with a smile on her face and absolutely reeking of joy.

She will be attending the University of Texas-San Antonio in the fall but isn’t sure on a major.

“My friends were going there,” she said. “And, since I had no concrete plans, I said ‘Sure, I’ll come along.’”

Winborn faced a tough decision growing up in a single-parent household and chose to move to Early, giving up all his comfort zone, family and friends. Starting completely over, and absolutely terrified of his new surroundings on that first day in school, he chose to be strong and grow in character and discipline.

He said he has realized that the things worth fighting for, that required the greatest amount of effort and sacrifice, would pay off most in life. This concentration has resulted in him excelling in the classroom and in athletic competition.

His honors include being named all-district academic and all-state academic in football, MVP for the powerlifting team and then winning state in USA powerlifting and medaling in the national competition.

Winborn will be attending Tarelton State University but later plans to transfer to Texas A&M and pursue a career in aerospace. He wants to eventually design aircraft and weapons systems.

“I actually have an uncle that helped design the unmanned drones,” he said. “That kind of inspired me.”

Bruner Auto Family President Greg Bruner said that both students have shown they are exemplary individuals inside the classroom and out.

“We are delighted to honor two such exceptional students as Casey Jessup and Quenton Winborn, not only for their achievements, but for overcoming adversity,” he said. “We are grateful to Ms. Reca Godfrey, the Early High School Counselor, and her team for helping bring Casey and Quenton to our attention.”

Through the Youths of Inspiration program, Bruner Toyota will recognize two students from area high schools each month during this school year. Each monthly honoree will receive a certificate in the showroom of Bruner Toyota.

Each student must be in good standing with his/her high school and be an exemplary citizen. Individual campus counselors recommend their school recipients of the Youths of Inspiration Award.

On Thursday evening, May 22, at Howard Payne University, Bruner Toyota will host a dinner to recognize each of the 18 honorees from the participating campuses. At the event, Bruner Toyota will award $2,000 in scholarships, selecting one young man and one young woman, who will each receive a $500 scholarship. The school of each selected student will also receive a $500 scholarship donation from Bruner Toyota.