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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Club honors students for leadership through service

PLANT CITY – Two students who distiguished themselves through community service were honored recently by the Plant City Civitan Club.

Seniors Austin Bruner of Plant City High School and Jessi Rae Varnum of Durant High were presented with plaques as the club’s Outstanding Youths of the Year.

“These young people are leading other young people in our schools,” said club president Pat Pogue, who also presented the two honorees with tickets to the Florida Strawberry Festival.

Bruner and Varnum will serve as grand marshals of the club’s March 6 youth parade at the festival, Civitan treasurer Ann Shiflett said.

Representatives of the festival and the two high schools were on hand to help honor Bruner and Varnum at the breakfast meeting at BuddyFreddys restaurant.

Both students were praised for their leadership skills.

Bruner, a four-year member of the Plant City High School Jr. Civitan Club, not only serves as president of the club but is also senior class president.

Apart from his community service projects, Bruner participated in the Lott Leadership Institute at the University of Mississippi last summer where he took courses in political science and public speaking.

Varnum, who is the reigning Florida Strawberry Festival queen, has a 5.5 grade point average. She has volunteered a total of 136 community service hours, is vice president of Student Government, and a member of the National Honor Society, Leo club and SAC.

“Serving the community has always been important to me and I feel like I should give back,” Varnum said.

The Outstanding Youth award is given every year to two high school seniors through a selection process. Students submit a resume that is evaluated by a committee.

“We had some really good applicants this year,” Shiflett said. “It’s not a selection of who they are but strictly by application and accomplishments and so forth.”

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