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East Tennessee student’s academic, civic success reaps $100,000 Tusculum Scholarship

GREENEVILLE, TN – From participation in the National History Academy to the Bristol Youth Leadership program, John Martin Harbaugh is making a difference in the community and learning how the civic arts will enable him to grow as a student in college.

  john martin harbaugh
John Martin Harbaugh; image submitted

John Martin, a senior at Sullivan East High School, will start at Tusculum University in the fall. He recently earned a scholarship from Tennessee’s first higher education institution worth more than $100,000. The Trustee Honors Scholarship, which requires at least a 3.5 grade point average and at least a 28 on the ACT, is Tusculum’s most prestigious and highest academic honor.

He has held a grade point average of at least 4.0 throughout high school, and his composite ACT score is 33, with his superscore being a 34. He is a Beta Club Scholar, receiving merit awards for biology, chemistry and astronomy. That will provide nice preparation for John Martin, who currently plans to seek a biology degree from Tusculum. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.

“We are excited to have John Martin join the Tusculum family and know he will be well positioned to succeed with the exceptional, well-rounded education he will receive from our faculty and staff members,” said Dr. Scott Hummel, the university’s president. “He has made good use of his four years at Sullivan East, developing valuable skills that align perfectly with our focus on the civic arts and civic engagement. He is an outstanding student.”

Dr. Hummel and representatives of Tusculum’s admissions team recently participated in a ceremony on Zoom to congratulate John Martin. John Martin was joined by his parents, J.D. and Michele.

As an example of his success, John Martin was one of only two Tennessee students accepted into the National History Academy class when he attended in summer 2019. He said the five-week program focuses on teaching a new generation of leaders about aspects of American history and politics.

He said the academy changed his life and taught him about the necessity of the civic arts. He also had the opportunity to visit historic and national treasures such as Gettysburg, Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian. That will help him during his studies at Tusculum because he plans to pursue a minor in history.

“I spent the majority of a summer learning about the minute details of American politics and how our government was founded on the ideals of personal liberty and the right to vote,” John Martin said. “Not only did I learn about American history, but I also practiced civil debate with my peers, experienced new cultures that represent entirely different ideologies from my own and met some of the greatest people I will ever have the chance to encounter.”

Other areas in which John Martin has made his mark include his participation in the Bristol Youth Leadership program of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. He had the opportunity to shadow the CEO of a major credit union. He was also picked for the Student Congress on Policies in Education of the Tennessee School Boards Association. He was elected to serve as a member of a mock school board.

In addition, John Martin completed many volunteer projects for the Beta Club, the Key Club and Future Business Leaders of America chapters at Sullivan East. He has also been civically active, helping at Haven of Rest Rescue Mission in Bristol and local community centers and working more than 60 hours as Captain Buc, mascot of the Bristol Pirates Appalachian League team.

Now, John Martin is about to head to Tusculum and begin his collegiate career, and he is excited about the excellent academics, high-caliber students and family atmosphere at the university. His father said a major reason John chose Tusculum was support he received from Emily Pietzyk, a student and Pioneer Peer at the university, who answered many of his questions.

“I will be exposed to ideas and perspectives I had never even heard of before and gain the opportunity to talk these through with all different types of people,” John Martin said. “Such experiences will represent an incredible opportunity, granting me the chance to create a foundation for my future career while simultaneously spurring my own path of discovery, both with my personal self and among the friends that I will meet.”

Tusculum University, the first higher education institution in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, provides a comprehensive education in a Judeo-Christian environment, grounded in a civic, liberal and medical arts curriculum with pathways for career preparation, personal development and civic engagement. More than 1,700 students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville, at locations in Knoxville and Morristown and in online programs.

Published May 2, 2020

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