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Katie Rankin Awarded Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award

Katie Rankin


A Virginia High School senior is one of the eleven recipients of the statewide Harry F. Byrd Jr. Leadership Award for 2023-24.

Amanda “Katie” Rankin has been named a winner of the award, which comes with a $25,000 scholarship. Winners are chosen from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts based on “academic accomplishment, excellence of character, qualities of leadership and devotion to duty.”

Rankin is the winner from the 9th Congressional District. The award was established in 1995 by Byrd, a newspaper publisher who represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 1965 to 1983. Byrd resided in Winchester. He died in 2013. He succeeded his father, Harry F. Byrd Sr. as a U.S. Senator. Harry Byrd Sr. also served as a Virginia Governor. 

The University of Virginia Foundation administers a trust for the Byrd Leadership Award. Harry F. Byrd Jr. established the award in hopes that its recipients will choose to remain in Virginia for their higher education. However, there is no requirement for a recipient to enroll in a Virginia college or university. There is also no restriction on the use of the award.  

Katie is currently ranked #1 in her class at Virginia High School. At VHS she is involved in the World Language Club and Scholastic Bowl Team. She is a Student Representative on the Bristol Virgina Public School Board and an Alumni Leader with Bristol Youth Leadership. She plans on attending a four-year university to study Public Policy.  

Each September, the Byrd Foundation sends a letter to public and private high schools in Virginia seeking nominees. Rankin was nominated by the VHS Principal, Ronnie Collins. 

The foundation receives approximately 300 applications each year, and a screening committee narrows the field to 33 finalists. The screening committee is composed of deans of admission from the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, Washington & Lee University, and Virginia Tech. Three finalists are selected from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. 

"I am very honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Leadership Award for the 9th congressional district. This award means a lot to me, as it will help ease the burden of paying for my continued education. I also greatly appreciated the opportunity to travel to Richmond and meet several members of Senator Byrd's family during the interview process. As someone interested in policy and law, it was an honor to be able to hear from them about the impact that Senator Byrd had on the Commonwealth." Rankin said.