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Muscatine student encourages 'brighter side of things' in school and life | SOAR scholarship

"I think it's important to take things one day at a time and live every day to the fullest," Aubrey Haney said.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Editor's note: If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are resources available. Call or text 988 anytime to be connected with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

A student in Muscatine is one of three area high school seniors receiving a $5,000 scholarship this year as WQAD News 8 teams up with The Sedona Group to recognize outstanding achievements.

Aubrey Haney is highly active in outreach activities as a student at Muscatine High School.

"I think it's what keeps the world going around is helping others," she said.

To name a few, Aubrey is senior class president for student council, student section leader, on the National Honor Society, a tennis player, a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters and she is chief editor of the school's yearbook.

"Give back to the community that raised me," she said.

One of the community groups that is near and dear to Aubrey's heart is Micaela's Hope on spreading mental health and suicide prevention awareness. The Brunson family, of Muscatine, lost their 16-year-old daughter to suicide in 2016.

"I saw a lot at a young age that I shouldn't really see," Aubrey said. "There were times when it was really hard."

Through months of donations and fundraisers, Aubrey helped raise more than $6,000 to go toward the organization's cause.

"Aubrey has not only raised money, she's raised awareness, she's raised hope, she's spreading a message that people need to be here," said Alma Brunson of Micaela's Hope.

Aubrey grew up in a toxic family surrounded by addictions and abuse.

"There were times I'd go to school in not the best clothes because I didn't have many options and I'd be a little hungry," Aubrey said.

Aubrey helped her mom during the tough times.

"A good role model to her brother," mom Jamie Haney said. "So fortunate and thankful to have a daughter like her."

Despite the obstacles, Aubrey pushed forward and shared advice.

"I think it's important to take things one day at a time and live every day to the fullest," Aubrey said. "When things get bad in life, you kind of have to look for the brighter side of things."

Aubrey is set to start college at the University of Iowa this fall and major in secondary education. 

"She thrives with every opportunity," teacher Alex Rauenbuehler said. "She was always someone who worked well with others. She wanted to succeed and hold herself to high standards. If the world had more Aubrey Haney's, the world would be a pretty stellar place."

"She believes in people and there's a little bit of me that has shared that with her," grandmother Dianne Myrtle said.

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