Varner is currently a senior at Missouri State University where she is studying elementary education. Through the Ozarks Teacher Corps program, Varner will receive a $4,000 annual award in return for her commitment to teach for at least three years in a rural district after graduation.
Varner has worked at the Exeter R-6 School District in a variety of positions and hopes to return to the district as a professional educator.
"My goal is to bring a sense of caring and dedication to my students," Varner wrote in an essay application that helped her earn the scholarship. "Teaching in my hometown will allow me to work with kids I am already acquainted with."
The Ozarks Teachers Corps scholarships are made possible by the Chesley and Flora Lee Wallis Scholarship Fund and the Henry J. and Lucille J. Straus Scholarship Fund, which both support students involved in the Rural Schools Partnership, an initiative of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
In addition to the scholarship, Varner will receive a free membership to the Rural Schools Innovation Network, a training and networking program of the Rural School and Community Trust.