Bates earns degree with senior honors award from Auburn

Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

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A Straughn High School graduate was among students recognized for outstanding scholarship, mental attitude, and leadership qualities during Auburn University’s Honors College Eagles of Excellence program on Friday, May 3.

Avery Bates was selected as the 2024 recipient of the Edgar C. Gentle III Honors Award during Auburn University’s Honors College Eagles of Excellence program in May. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A 2020 SHS alumna, Bates was named the Edgar C. Gentle III Honors Award recipient. She received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences Pre-Vet in the spring.

“Being a Straughn High School alumna has become one of my greatest assets as I have progressed throughout my college days,” Bates said. “Having faculty who care immensely about you from the elementary to the high school has made the difference. Coming into the classroom each day with high expectations set upon us has only made it easier to succeed. The continuing support from faculty, staff, friends, and the Straughn community has led me to where I am today. I am sure I would not be here without the support.”

To be eligible for the award, a student must be classified as a senior with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and have completed at least 90 credit hours. He or she must complete Auburn’s entire Honors curriculum, which includes the Senior Capstone Experience.

Bates’ selection as the 2024 recipient of the Edgar C. Gentle III Honors Award was a complete surprise to her.

“I was already attending the awards program representing the Honors College as an Honors Ambassador. This award is the last senior award to be given, so being acknowledged at that grand of a scale made me pretty emotional. It cannot be understated how blessed I felt receiving that award. Most of my collegiate extracurricular activities involved the Honors College, and I met some of my best friends while living in the Honors College dorm. Being acknowledged in this way makes me feel like I had an impact, and that is a very special feeling,” she said.

Bates earned summa cum laude honors in May and earned a 3.8 plus GPA. The hard work and dedication she put forth led to being chosen as a University Honors Scholar.

Avery Bates completed her undergraduate degree from Auburn in May. She will enroll in the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine in August. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“Auburn University led to me having a very robust application with lots of unique hands-on experiences and classes. Much like Straughn, my professors at Auburn expected a lot out of the students, especially in my Honors College classes. I believe that has prepared me for the rigors of veterinary school well,” she said.

She will further her education at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in early August.

“From a very young age, I have witnessed the innocence and love an animal can give and how that can greatly change the lives of the people for the better. I have seen first-hand how an animal can be one’s only light during the darkest days. Animals do not judge or hate, but they only love. From my own childhood pets to the animals I now work with, I have become dedicated to ensuring my actions are returning the love animals freely give. Ultimately, my utmost desire is to leave my mark on the world by committing myself to the betterment of animals and the humans around them,” Bates said.

Bates will be enrolled in veterinary school for the next four years and will be considered a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) candidate in 2028. Those four years are broken into 2 1/2 years of classroom-based learning and 1 1/2 years of clinical and preceptorship learning.

“I am looking forward to continuing my education at the school I love alongside some good friends I made during my time as an undergraduate. Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is known for producing well-rounded veterinarians. Its curriculum allows students to engage with both large and small animals instead of choosing one or the other during their time in school. I hope to challenge myself and find many more passions in veterinary medicine through the course of my time as a veterinary student,” she said.

Upon graduation from veterinary school, Bates hopes to continue her education as a resident dependent upon the specialty of her choosing.

“I do not exactly have a set specialty decided yet because I would like to experience all of the different types of veterinary work during my clinical years of school,” she said.

Bates added that her decision to attend AU following high school was the right decision.

“Growing up in Alabama, one compliment even Bama fans gave Auburn University was about the quality of the veterinarians it produced. I did not realize it until I was able to visit the campus and the College of Agriculture when I realized I needed to be at Auburn. It seemed to have been the perfect place to strive towards my goals, and it turned out it was.”

She credits the support from family and friends to helping her reach this point in her life.

“I would not be where I am today if it was not for all their support. Many lessons from being brought up in such a tight-knit community such as Straughn have been crucial in my development as a professional. I always had someone I could reach out to if I needed help, advice, or a prayer when times eventually got tough. Growing up in a family where you were raised to have goals and strive towards them is the biggest reason why I think I have been so blessed in my achievements,” Bates said.

Avery is the daughter of Kyle and Patty Rountree with three siblings: Alex Rountree, Carlin Bates, and Presley Bates. Alex and Carlin will be sophomores at Auburn this fall, and Presley will be a senior at Straughn.