4 standout metro teens awarded Reaching for Excellence scholarships

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Four metro teens were recognized Wednesday at FOX4 for their outstanding work to better their communities and themselves.

Throughout the school year, FOX4 in conjunction with the Furniture Mall of Kansas recognize the future leaders of tomorrow through our Reaching for Excellence segment.

Each week, we pick an exceptional student. Of course, all of these young achievers are amazing, doing more than most. But four of those teens were recently awarded with scholarships to further their academic achievements in college.

This year's recipients are Ashlee Thao, Jacob Anderson, Ruby Rios and Erin Smith.

FOX4 and Furniture Mall of Kansas' Reaching for Excellence scholarship recipients

Thao lost her vision as an infant, but it didn't slow down the Shawnee Mission South graduate. Instead she said it simply amplified her drive for greatness. She's a standout musician, playing the piano and violin. In the fall, she'll attend Wichita State University.

Watch her full Reaching for Excellence story here.

Anderson completed an outstanding Eagle Scout project. The Osawatomie High grad took it upon himself to honor every single graduate of his high school that served or is currently serving in the military.

In all, 525 people will forever be honored inside the walls of his school. He's responsible for the honor wall that now stands. Anderson will head off to Maryville University this fall.

Watch his full Reaching for Excellence story here.

Rios holds the title of being the youngest person ever selected for Kansas City Ink Magazine's "30 Under 30" list. She's an exceptional student, leader and advocate.

She created two coding clubs for girls and has a passion for getting women interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math. In the fall, Rios will attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Watch her full Reaching for Excellence story here.

Smith's mother and brother accepted her scholarship on her behalf, as the teen is overseas in Israel conducting research for a fellowship. Smith is a 2018 Theil Foundation fellow, one of only 20 in the world.

The Shawnee Mission West senior is credited with developing a program called FacePrint, which uses facial recognition software to diagnose Parkinson's disease. After graduation, she plans to attend Stanford University.

Watch her full Reaching for Excellence story here.

If you know a young achiever who is 18 years old or younger and is doing exceptional things, Fox 4 wants to hear from you. Nominate them here.