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The making of a U.S. Presidential Scholar: Alaina Whittington

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2023

Alaina Whittington describes her high school experience as “hectic.” And it’s no small wonder: You look at her accomplishments, and one is left wondering when there was time to sleep.

The 18-year-old from Diagonal was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar – the highest honor given to a high school senior.

The daughter of JP and Amy Whittington, Alaina’s GPA speaks for itself: 4.2. But it’s beyond the academics where the breadth of her high school career becomes clear.

Alaina’s extracurricular activities include varsity volleyball, basketball, archery, track and softball. And then there’s the Academic Quiz Bowl, National Honor Society, drama, speech, robotics, FFA, HELP Youth Philanthropy Group, class officer team, and student council.

“Outside of school, I participated in 4-H, Ringgold County 4-H youth committee, and Ringgold county 4-H council,” she said. “I was also selected as the Iowa student representative to serve on the Iowa State Board of Education this past year.”

It’s clear she’s setting a high bar as an example for her younger siblings Owen, Levi and Ava.

Diagonal Community Schools Superintendent Larry McNutt wasn’t surprised by Alaina’s nationwide honor.

"Alaina has worked very hard for her achievements,” he said. “From being a student member of the Department of Education Board to president of her FFA Chapter, she is very involved in many civic volunteer activities along with being out for sports and other activities such as drama and robotics. She is goal driven and wants to achieve many things. I can't think of a better student who deserves this recognition more than Alaina.”

Alaina exemplifies the work of an engaging teacher.

“My favorite subject was history because of the teacher and my passion for history and politics.” she said.

To that end, Alaina plans on attending Oklahoma State University in the fall to double major in political science and history. And that’s just one step in creating a career.

“After my bachelor’s degree, I want to go to law school to one day be a lawyer.” she said.

Congratulations, Alaina!