A mission trip to New York City opened Autumn Snesrud’s eyes as to how fortunate she is to have a supportive family and the opportunity to fulfill her dream of attending college.
“We worked with the United Nations Church for a week and saw firsthand the poverty on our streets here in America,” she said.
Snesrud, a senior, will graduate from Iola High School with honors Sunday.
While visiting New York City during spring break in her junior year, she saw many homeless people carrying what few belongings they had with them. The street people also lacked good nutrition and medical care.
“I think it was during my mission trip that I decided I wanted to study food science and pre-medicine with a goal of becoming a medical doctor,” Snesrud said.
In the future, she would like to work with Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization working in nearly 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect or catastrophe.
Snesrud carries her compassion for others with her throughout her daily life.
“I think a smile brightens the day of everyone around you. You don’t have to know someone to take a minute to stop and say hi, how are you today,” she said.
Snesrud is the daughter of Melody and Jim Snesrud and has two sisters, Ashley, a teacher in Nebraska, and Amber, a student at Nebraska Wesleyn University in Lincoln.
Snesrud will attend Kansas State University and said, “I’m disappointed that Nebraska pulled out of the Big 12. My dad is a big Cornhusker fan and I was looking forward to the rivalry.”
Snesrud had another opportunity to visit New York City during a band trip her freshman year. This year she served as drum major for the band.
She has also participated in forensics and Scholars Bowl.
“I know a lot of people may find Scholars Bowl a little geeky, but we had so much fun and I learned a lot and made friends with people I might not have met if I wasn’t in Scholars Bowl,” she said.
Snesrud said she had been a straight-A student in middle school, but was concerned if she could continue with her academic excellence in high school.
“After I made it through my freshman and sophomore years with straight A’s I decided I was going to finish my high school years as an honors student,” she said.
She accomplished her goal. She scored a 32 on her ACT test ranking her first in the class of 2011.
GIRL SCOUTS have been a part of her life since she was 5 when she became a Daisy Scout.
“My mom was a Girl Scout leader for my sisters and I tagged along. As soon as I was old enough I joined a troop,” she said.
Marty Meadows, who has worked with the Girl Scouts in Iola for many years, has influenced Snesrud with her giving nature.
“If you need help all you have to do is call Marty. She gives of herself to the Girl Scouts and is a strong worker in our church, Wesley United Methodist,” she said.
Last summer as a Senior Scout, Snesrud, Meadows and several other Girl Scouts traveled to Savannah, Ga., to visit the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts of America.
The scouts toured Low’s home and participated in a Victorian dinner, one of several activities offered to visiting scouts.
“We got to dress up in Victorian clothes and set the tables for the formal dinner,” Snesrud said.
SNESRUD said her most memorable teacher is Linda Brunetti, who taught her in fourth grade at Lincoln.
“To this day anytime she sees any article about me in the newspaper she will clip it out, have it laminated and send it to me with a note saying, ‘Good job!’” Snesrud said.
Her parents have been her greatest role models. They taught her to be respectful of others and to have common courtesy.
“My parents also taught me that I have to work hard to get what I want,” she said.
For the past three years, Snesrud has been working at A&W Restaurant and saving her wages so she won’t have to work the first couple of years of college.
Snesrud has learned time management is her friend. She found a balance between work and school with time left to perform in school plays and to play on the tennis team for the past two years.
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