Bright future: Henson earns scholarship to pursue medical career
VIDALIA — Garrett Henson didn’t imagine he would pursue a career in medicine, but a few great teachers and a calling from a higher power convinced him to stick with science.
Now, the Vidalia High School senior is set to attend the University of Louisiana Monroe on an academic scholarship to study pharmacy, a career path the 18-year-old said he sort of fell into.
“I used to hate science, but I’ve kind of warmed up to it in the past couple of years,” Henson said. “I had a great biology teacher who got me interested in science. I just prayed about it and opened myself up and felt like God was telling me to study pharmacy.”
Henson credits biology teacher Tim Herndon for lighting the spark and getting him interested in science.
“He’s got a unique way of teaching, and he’s very active and energetic,” Henson said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday or a Friday or if you’ve had a terrible week, the moment you walk into his class you’re pumped up and ready to go.”
Herndon said seeing students such as Henson take a strong interest in science is the ultimate reward for him as a teacher.
“Not many students these days want to study science, because it’s not the most convenient thing to study, but (Henson) always seemed interested and wanted to know more,” Herndon said. “He always wanted to be the best in the room and would ask questions that would make everyone else kind of be on their toes and ready to learn.”
Henson is receiving a $24,000 academic scholarship to ULM, which he said he selected because of their pharmacy department.
The department, Henson said, seemed more interactive than the others he had seen across the state.
“They’ve got a really hands-on program, where you’re not just sitting in a desk or a table taking notes all the time,” Henson said. “I visited quite a few campuses, but ULM was just the best that I saw.”
Apart from his academics, Henson plays clarinet in the high school band and also received additional scholarship funding to continue playing with ULM’s wind ensemble or marching band.
Henson said maintaining his grades while also playing in the band will require a lot of determination and focus as he adjusts to life in college.
“I won’t be doing a lot of extra curricular things or really anything besides band, church and hanging out with friends,” Henson said. “I think I’ll hold off on the rest for the first year or two.”
That won’t be the easiest thing for Henson, who is involved in a variety of activities at Vidalia High School, including basketball, band, student council, Key Club and Beta Club.
“I like to stay busy,” Henson said. “I’m sure I’ll get involved with a few similar groups in college, but I want to wait a while before I join any clubs or organizations.”
For the time being, Henson said he’s focused on maintaining his grades and looking forward to graduation day in May.
The moment will be a sad one for the Vidalia native, but Henson said he knows it’s time to close one chapter of his life and open another.
“I’m ready to go out into the world and find bigger and better things, but I’m also starting to realize that God has me here for a reason,” Henson said. “I’ve been anxious to leave for the last year or so, but it will still be strange to leave.”
Henson is the son of Misty and Stacy Henson of Vidalia.