Fleming Senior Receives $10,000 Scholarship

Colston confers with RVGS Guidance Director Kathy Sebolt.

Like so many high school seniors, William Fleming student Aaron Colston is a little nervous about the news he is awaiting from the colleges he has applied to. His top three choices: University of Richmond, College of William and Mary, and Wake Forest. They are all great schools, and he says will keep in mind the right “fit” but ultimately it will come down to the cost.

That will be a little easier to bear as Colston recently won the prestigious Harry F. Byrd Jr. Leadership Award along with a $10,000 scholarship. There is a specific process in place to narrow down the field of applicants, which is small to begin with. Colston said that each school in Virginia (public and private) can recommend one person who is then evaluated by a selection committee. Out of that group, three are chosen from each congressional district; one of those will be the winner in that district.  With 11 districts in Virginia, that means that 11 kids will receive a $10,000 scholarship, which is quite generous as scholarships go.

Colston, who says he is “thinking about studying marketing or law,” is a grateful beneficiary of the scholarship which was established to recognize and reward students like him, who excel in academic achievement, demonstrate leadership abilities, and serve their communities.

For a student who is such a high achiever, the only real giveaway upon meeting him is his poise and extraordinary yet relaxed command of language; he speckles his conversation with words not usually employed by kids these days. There is no sense of entitlement, only warmth and grace exuding from this young man.

Also a Governor’s school student, Colston speaks highly and with affection for his home school, William Fleming. He “loves” the new facility, saying “I think it has been a real boost of morale for all of us there…there is more equipment to use, [there are] smart boards in every classroom. It is a better setting—there is a better ambience for learning.” Although he will be graduating in June, he is also looking forward to the new stadium, as “it will be fun to come back and see all the kids and the team in our new facility.”

Colston’s achievements haven’t kept him from having lots of friends. He has earned their respect though as he says “many people ask advice about their future goals and I try to help them out as much as I can.” He believes that what has helped him succeed is that he is both motivated and ambitious.

Many educators at Fleming and the Governor’s School have served as both friend and mentor to Colston.  He has trouble singling them out, saying “I am tight with all of my teachers—they are all really proud of me.” He does mention Sarah Lee, a Fleming teacher he never even had but, “we met and clicked; we talk all the time.” He adds that all the educators and guidance personnel there support of all the students; “they try to make sure everyone succeeds.”

Kathy Sebolt, Guidance Director at RVGS said, “Aaron is a remarkable young man.  Courses at the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School are highly challenging and Aaron has really risen to the challenges and has grown academically.  Not only is he bright and hard-working, but he is genuinely kind and caring.  Aaron is the kind of person who makes the room brighter just by walking into it.  It is always bitter-sweet when our students graduate.  Although we wish Aaron much success next year and beyond, we will all miss having him here at RVGS.”

Colston lives with his mom Crystal and little brother Dre, who is seven years younger than he is and who Colston characterizes as very “opposite” of him; he calls the three of them “really close.”  While Colston participated in sports when he was younger, he has become involved in student government leadership and lately, performing arts. He has a lead part in Fleming’s upcoming comedy play “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” which will be held toward the end of April / early May.

When Colston finally does head to college, leaving Mom and little brother behind, he says it will be hard at first, but “the biggest change is that it will be a LOT louder.” Apparently Dre is very talented at sports as well as academics, and without big brother Aaron at home to remind him not to practice lacrosse indoors, things could get a little more hectic.

By Christine Slade
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