This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  On Sunday, 435 students came from all corners of the state to be recognized as the Governor’s Scholars.

“We know that 99% of the students who are here are involved in athletics and/or fine arts activities in their school. Seventy-seven percent are going to go on to college. So they really are the well-rounded students, they’re not just academic, but they also represent other aspects of their schools,” Executive Director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Alan Beste said.

Governor Kim Reynolds said this award shows students in Iowa are ready for the future.

“There was a student that was part of the Rocket Manufacturing program, which is one of our STEM Best initiatives, and it’s a phenomenal initiative. They’re actually a student-led, student-ran business, manufacturing company up in northwest Iowa, and the students have just really excelled in the program. So there were a couple of kids that have been involved and already in a lot of the STEM initiatives that we have taking place across the state of Iowa in schools,” Reynolds said.

Hoover High School senior Hannah Blackford said she’s honored to receive this award, and she plans to play softball and study mechanical engineering at Southeastern Louisiana University.

“It kind of opened my eyes for everything,” said Blackford. “Like all of the opportunities to come. Especially the emphasis she has on STEM. So I’m super excited to see where that path takes me in college and throughout the rest of my life, and hopefully it will lead to other young women choosing that pathway.”

Blackford said the highlights of her high school career are running track; playing volleyball, softball, and basketball; and making lifelong friends.

“I definitely want to say just keep working hard, you know, I have a bunch of friends that are underclassmen and so they kind of look up to me, not just academically, but in softball and stuff. So hopefully this will push them to want more,” Blackford said.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg was one of the first Governor’s Scholars 16 years ago, and Blackford said it was inspiring that he was there to present them with their awards.