By Tamas Mondovics
Considering that thousands of students across the state and the nation enjoyed the spotlight, Lauren Mackenzie Souder graduation from Cocke County High School in Newport, Tennessee last month may not be all that special to most.
But to Sauder’s parents, Julie and Steve Sauder, a former Johnson County resident whose brother and parents still live in the county, this event is extra special, and for a good reason.
For starters, Mackenzie, the granddaughter of Spencer and Cathy Souder of Laurel Bloomery, graduated third in her class of 279 with a 4.42 G.P.A. as an A.P. Scholar, member of the National Honors Society and Treasurer of the National Beta Club.
She was a member of the Advanced Choir for three years and has earned 30 college credits during her high school career.
In addition to her excellent performance in the classroom, Mackenzie excelled in athletics as a three-sport athlete playing on the Varsity basketball team for four years, starting at point guard for three of those years.
“She led her team in assists and serving as a captain in her senior season,” Steve proudly said, while adding that Mackenzie enjoyed the spotlight as an All-Conference performer in Soccer, scoring more than 50 goals in her career.
“She was captain for three years, named first-team All-Conference for three years, and capped off a remarkable career her Senior season being named the District 2 Class AA Soccer Forward of the Year,” he said.
The athletic accomplishments continue including Mackenzie’s spot on the track and field team, after qualifying for the Sectionals during her Junior and Senior seasons.
She also qualified in the 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, and the 4 x 100 relay her Junior year and in her Senior season, qualified for the 100-meter dash and tied the school record in the 200-meter dash.
But there is more. Mackenzie is a member of First Free Will Baptist Church in Newport and participates annually in the National C.T.S. Competitions that include Bible Bowl, Bible Memorization, Vocals, Duets, and Trios.
To assist her future endeavors, Mackenzie has received several scholarships, including the Presidential Academic Performance award to ETSU, the Richard and Peggy Harwood Memorial Scholarship, along with the J. Pritchard Barnes Memorial Scholarship. She plans to attend ETSU to study Accounting.
Great job Mackenzie.