Franklin High senior accepted to 40 colleges, receives $1.6 million in scholarships

Franklin

FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — Sam Lyons, a senior at Franklin High School, has been accepted into 40 colleges and has earned more than $1.6 million in scholarships.

“He is the first student since I have been at FHS to have been accepted into this many colleges and earned this huge amount of scholarship money by himself,” said FHS Guidance Counselor Ale Massenburg in a press release Friday.

And even more scholarship money is expected to roll in. He hopes to eventually work in the computer engineering field.

Lyons used the Common Application and Coalition Application, but still had to write a lot of essays to apply to the schools, which include Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond and George Mason University.

10 On Your Side spoke with the accomplished senior on Friday.

If there’s one word to describe Lyons’ senior year, it’s discipline.

“I just got to stay humble about it because my journey is just beginning,” Lyons said.

He said he started applying in August 2020.

“In the morning I would log on to school until around 12 [noon] and straight after that, I would work on college applications,” Lyons said.

He did it while juggling dual credit college courses, sports, and other extra-curricular activities.

He spent countless hours filling out applications and writing essays. His counselor guided him every step of the way.

“He was very serious about meeting his deadlines,” said Massenburg.

It was stressful but the senior kept his eye on the prize.

“I had to visualize my future,” Lyons said. “When I didn’t feel like doing the work, I had to push through it.”

The student said he never expected to receive that much in scholarships.

He ended up choosing VCU, which awarded him the VCU Engineering Progressive Award for $30,000.

Franklin administrators and teachers have nothing but good things to say about Lyons.

“We know Sam’s going to do great things. Sam has proved that it’s cool to be smart,” said Principal Travis Felts. “He’s self motivated, he’s determined, he’s serious about academics.

Felts described him as a man of few words but a lot of action.

“Sam is one of the most mature and focused students I have ever had the privilege to work with. He demonstrates a passion for learning and furthering his own growth. He is going to move on and accomplish great things and I cannot see what comes in the next chapter of his life,” said FHS Dual Enrollment Anatomy & Physiology Teacher Brandon Lilley.

“When I think of Samuel Lyons, I think of the following quote from T. D. Jakes, ‘Destiny is not for comfort seekers. Destiny is for the daring and determined who are willing to endure some discomfort, delay gratification, and go where destiny leads,’ said FHS Computer Information Systems Teacher Shonna Rawlings. “Samuel is a very hard working, persistent, and reliable young man. He has served as the Vice President of FBLA for the past two years and has also been one of my business students. Samuel is not one who cares about instant gratification. He is one who puts in the work, no matter what to accomplish his goals. I believe he is destined to a successful future because of this. I am so proud of his many accomplishments.”

As he turns his tassel to the next chapter, Lyons said he couldn’t have done it without the support of his parents, teacher and coaches, his counselor and God.

“I want to thank everybody because it’s been a journey,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be successful and see my hard work pay off.”

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