Vanguard College Preparatory School senior Henry Boehm has turned his work ethic, attitude of service and high grade-point average into a $130,000 scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin.
All of those attributes resulted in the Texas Exes naming Boehm a Forty Acres Scholar. The program features a merit-based scholarship for the UT-Austin that covers all school expenses, including tuition, books, a stipend and funds for study abroad.
Boehm, 17, graduates from Vanguard on May 29 with nearly perfect scores in all Advanced Placement testing and college-entry exams.
He also was accepted to Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, Rice University, the University of Virginia, and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He was awarded more than $600,000 in scholarship money from the various schools, but opted to become a Longhorn when he received the Forty Acres spot.
“I was still considering (the University of Texas) even without the Forty Acres, but it’s such an incredible program,” Boehm said. “That’s the kind of offer you can’t really refuse.”
Boehm was chosen out of about 3,000 applicants who filled out the required forms and submitted two essays. The top 50 finalists attended an on-campus weekend where students met with alumni and faculty to see if they would be a good fit for the program, said Leslie Cedar, Texas Exes executive director and CEO.
The Forty Acres program began four years ago and this will be the largest class accepted, with 19 scholars, Cedar said. It reserves 90 percent of its spots for Texas residents in an effort to retain and attract the state’s top talent, she said.
“These kids are just the most engaged, the most involved and they’re obviously leaders,” Cedar said.
Throughout their college careers, scholars are invited to socials with some of the university’s most successful alumni, given internships and can travel anywhere in the world for their study abroad requirement, Cedar said.
Cedar said Forty Acres only accepts students with the best academic records. But it wasn’t just Boehm’s grades that won him the spot.
“We’re looking for people who care as much about the success of the person sitting next to them as they do about their own,” Cedar said.
Boehm enrolled at Vanguard in seventh grade and has participated in athletics, debate and student council.
Vanguard English and European history teacher Jen Ferretter said Boehm is a humble student with a tremendous work ethic.
“He’s also a really lovely kid. He’s considerate, he’s kind,” she said.
Boehm is the senior class president, editor-in-chief of Vanguard’s student newspaper and an active participant in mock trial. He was the captain of the school’s varsity soccer team this year. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14 years old
“I think he’s been focused on doing well for probably his whole life,” Ferretter said.
The Forty Acres Scholar Program will allow him to continue his trend of being involved in campus activities, while exposing him to successful alumni and experiences, Cedar said.
“The scholarship that comes with the Forty Acres program means not only is the student receiving a full ride — so all the financial support they need to attend the university — but they’re also a part of a program, which means there are all sorts of enrichment activities that we provide to them throughout their four years here,” she said.
Boehm credits Boy Scouts with setting him on the right path academically. Rising to Eagle Scout taught him how to organize and communicate effectively to accomplish a goal.
He built bird nest boxes for the Cameron Park Zoo as his project and said he was responsible for contacting all vendors and coordinating them with the zoo.
“It was my crowning achievement of my scouting career and then what set me off on the right course during high school,” he said.
Boehm said he plans to major in business and pair it with a liberal arts program, both through the honors track at the university.
He most looks forward to world literature classes.
“It’s the class that everybody I’ve talked to has said has been their favorite class,” he said. “There are several classes, but they’re all taught by these professors who have been teaching for a long time. And they actually have to compete to teach these classes. They have to apply for them, so they really want to teach the kids.”
Boehm said he chose business as a major because it’s versatile and he isn’t sure what he wants to do after college graduation. He is considering law school, but doesn’t want to commit yet.
Boehm said Asia is on his list to consider for study abroad, but he isn’t ready to lock in on that yet, either.
“I have so many places I want to go, I couldn’t possibly choose (right now),” he said.