Liberty student is first winner of new ACT scholarship

Ethan Tanner is the first recipient of the new ACT Scholarship Giveaway. (Photo courtesy Jessica Eilertson/ACT)

Peoria student Ethan Tanner was initially in disbelief when he learned he was the first recipient of the ACT Scholarship Giveaway.

Out of more than 132,000 possible applicants nationwide for the new scholarship, the junior at Liberty High School was awarded $5,000. On May 14, Liberty High School and ACT organized a celebration to congratulate Tanner on his scholarship.

“My mom forwarded me an email saying that I was chosen as the ACT Scholarship (recipient),” Tanner said. “My first thought was thinking that it was kind of like a joke, but then after a little bit (of time), I was really excited.”

The ACT Scholarship Giveaway is given to four students in a lottery format.

Three of those students receive $5,000, and the other receives a grand prize award of $40,000.

Each ACT Scholarship Giveaway winner also takes home an additional $5,000 technology package containing an Apple Macbook Air, 27-inch monitor, iPad Pro, accessories, Beats by Dre headphones and a Visa gift card.

This was especially intriguing to Tanner.

“The prize package I think is the best part,” Tanner said. “I am able to use all the technology in there to further my success in school and learn more.”

Two ACT representatives also made appearances at the May 14 ceremony to present Tanner with the $5,000 check and $5,000 technology package.

ACT is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization that is dedicated to helping students achieve education and workplace success. Natalie Ivory, the senior project manager for ACT, explained the motivation for creating this new scholarship.

“ACT participates in various other scholarships with different purposes throughout the year, but this particular scholarship — the ACT Scholarship Giveaway — this is our very first year of doing this,” Ivory said. “We really wanted to open up an opportunity for any student to have a chance to win.”

Because this is the first time the scholarship has been given out, ACT was eager to celebrate.

“We are really excited to celebrate Ethan because he was our very first winner of this particular scholarship program,” Ivory explained.

Most high school students and their families are aware of the finances that go into college, and Tanner was no exception.

“The scholarship has given me an opportunity to have money for tuition,” Tanner said.

So, Tanner has already begun to think about how the scholarship will play into his future plans. He sees himself staying true to his childhood dream.

“From a very early age, I have been trying to get into (Brigham Young University), so I will probably try to get in that school,” Tanner said.

“I want to be a mechanical engineer because I like building things and discovering how things work.”

While he is appreciative of the recognition, it is not something for which Tanner looks, however.

“I mean, I’m not one for recognition, like I would be fine not being recognized,” Tanner admitted. “I still think it’s really exciting to be the first (winner) — it’s a big accomplishment.”