One of two recipients of George H.W. Bush award, will attend post-grad year in Maryland
Though he put a strong effort into the application process, Anderson Sirmon didn’t necessarily expect to follow in the footsteps of his older brother William and ultimately attend Phillips Academy-Andover in Massachusetts.
The enrollment to the prestigious boarding school is just 3,000, approximately, and he thought his older sibling may have been a little more prepared when he earned his scholarship there.
“I really considered him more mature … maybe because he’s my big brother,” said Sirmon, who lives in Destrehan. “So to be honest, I didn’t think I’d be one to get a scholarship there.”
Sirmon was wrong on that — but obviously right on much else, as he earned the George H.W. Bush Scholarship for outstanding student leaders. Only two students receive the academic scholarship per school year, with the sought qualifications stated as those who demonstrate exceptional academic ability with outstanding character and leadership potential. The scholarship covers more than $60,000 in tuition, as well as books, room and board, meals, a weekly stipend and travel home for holidays.
The Bush Scholars program was established by the Phillips Academy Board of Trustees in 2002. The late former President is an alumni of the school’s Class of 1942.
“For a kid from Louisiana to get it, that’s insane,” Sirmon said. “I was more surprised than anything … it’s really so exciting because I know this is a tremendous opportunity for me to make connections and experience so many new things. It’s gonna be a whole new world for me.”
“It’s gonna be a whole new world for me.” — Anderson Sirmon
Like his brother before him, Sirmon will be enrolling in the school’s post-graduate program, which accepts 30-35 students per year to enroll as one-year seniors. Between 1,500 and 2,500 students apply to participate.
For William, the school represented a second chance to play football after he was sidelined by injury during his senior year at Destrehan. For the younger Sirmon, he will continue his playing career, while making good on the academic opportunities before him.
“I think more than anything, this is going to help me in the future,” Sirmon said.
He hasn’t yet narrowed down his eventual career goal, but he does know what kind of path he wants it to be. If he has his way, this will be just the first of many opportunities to travel.
“I want to experience new things and go around the world … whether that be part of doing missionary work, or becoming an international businessman, for me the goal isn’t about money,” he said. “I want to visit new places and experience so many things.”
Sirmon will graduate from St. Charles Catholic later this spring, where he played middle linebacker for the school’s football team. He’s also active as a Eucharistic minister and alter server at the school.
In the essay he submitted during the application process, his family values and Catholic faith were central themes.
“Our family’s been extremely blessed,” said Will Sirmon III, Anderson’s father. “He’s a true student athlete. He gives of his time.
“He’s really a pretty special guy,” he added, before concluding with a chuckle, “I’ve still gotta jump on him here and there. But I’m so, so proud.”
- Phillips Academy-Andover is an independent boarding high school with a post graduate program that accepts 30-35 students per year who enroll as one-year seniors.
- Alumni include George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Lemmon and Bill Belichick.
- Highly selective school accepts 13% of applicants.