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STAR student: Missionary work comes before college
Lakeview Academy football coach Matthew Gruhn and student Austin Montgomery are the co-winners of the Gainesville City Schools STAR Student and STAR Teacher. - photo by Tom Reed

While many students either go directly to college or work after high school, Austin Montgomery intends to help people on the mission field.

Montgomery, a senior at Lakeview Academy, was honored by the Gainesville Kiwanis Club on Tuesday afternoon as the co-winner of the STAR student award for the Gainesville City School System category, which included Gainesville High along with Lakeview Academy and Riverside Military Academy, which are private schools.

After graduation, Montgomery will spend two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It has to be a personal thing that you want to do or else you won’t be dedicated and do your best to help people wherever you go,” Montgomery said.

After he returns, he intends to study biomechanical engineering in college.

Montgomery named his football coach and history teacher, Matthew Gruhn, as his STAR teacher, the teacher who has had the most influence on his education.

“History is my least favorite subject,” Montgomery admitted. “What really stood out to me about Coach Gruhn is just his passion for learning and for people. He really cares about everyone.”

Gruhn said Montgomery’s “counterculture” attitude about life will take him far. He said he looks forward to seeing what Montgomery does with his life because he’s sure it will be amazing.

“Our culture, especially with young people, can bring them down. There are so many aspects of it that you see as an educator ... that they struggle with. What I see in Austin is he has the strength and resolve to rise above all those negative aspects that our culture can provide a young person.”

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