Remembering Ashleigh Rensing

Ashleigh Rensing was a fundamental member of the Liberty Community. Her passing has left a hole in the hearts of many, but her legacy continues to spread positivity and kindness.

A photo of Ashleigh Rensing that was taken in August of 2020.

Courtesy of Nora Franken

A photo of Ashleigh Rensing that was taken in August of 2020.

In May of 2021, Liberty lost one of their own- then junior, Ashleigh Rensing; the entire Liberty community is deeply saddened by her passing. Ashleigh started at Liberty as a freshman along with her twin brother Micheal. Ashleigh was known for being a caring friend and an important member of the community; she participated in many different service projects/clubs at Liberty including Garden Club and Science Olympiad. Her teachers don’t hesitate to mention her kindness and positive contributions to the classroom, as well as how she affected them. Ashleigh was a volunteer at the local North Liberty Food Pantry and would donate part of her paychecks to her church on a weekly basis. She was also an avid animal lover, and considered becoming a veterinarian or a marine biologist. Ashleigh was very ambitious and was on track to graduate high school with a diploma and an associates degree from Kirkwood Community College. Aside from her other interests, Ashleigh enlisted in the United States Air Force with dreams of one day using her intelligence at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Ashleigh was incredibly smart, motivated, kind, and compassionate, and is missed by all who knew her. 

Peggy Dolson, English, had Ashleigh as a student, and was a trusted adult in the building for her.

“Ashleigh wanted to do well and had a willingness to learn, which is half the battle [with other students]. She possessed the qualities of a life-long learner. She was curious and diligent. Ashleigh could solve problems. Most notably for me was her writing skill. Ashleigh continually did excellent work in English 9, which I am sure carried over to her upper level courses,” said Dolson. “Ashleigh was a thinker, and she could back up her opinions. Most importantly, even though we all come to topics with our own bias, during our class discussions for Quest, she would dissect several sides of an argument.  Another contribution [that she made to others] was her kindness. She would help students in her group or provide an explanation for students who were confused. Ashleigh would have been a good teacher because she had patience.”

[Ashleigh inspired others] In life, through her patience, kindness, and service. While much came easy to her, she was always willing to help in the classroom or at her job.

— Peggy Dolson

Dolson noted how she inspired others with her continuous empathy for everyone and her commitment to service.

“[She inspired others] In life, through her patience, kindness, and service. While much came easy to her, she was always willing to help in the classroom or at her job. The testimonies at her prayer service at Liberty spoke of this. In her passing, Ashleigh’s family has established a scholarship foundation that will allow her goodness and her aspirations to live on through the beneficiaries,” stated Dolson.

Ashleigh was a friend to all, inside and outside of Liberty. Nora Franken, senior, first met Ashleigh in junior high and were friends ever since. Franken shared what she wants others to remember about Ashleigh. 

What I want people to know about Ashleigh is that she was always very kind to others,” she said. “Her family and her friends were very important to her.”

Franken and Ashleigh grew close during their time at North Central Junior High. Their friendship continued to flourish throughout high school. Ashleigh’s kindness has left a lasting impression on Franken, as well as many others.

“I would describe Ashleigh as a nice, kind person who put others before herself,” said Franken. Ashleigh has inspired me to be a good person and treat others with respect and go after your dreams,” continued Franken. 

Ashleigh’s passing was devastating for all members of the Liberty community. This year, in her honor, Ashleigh’s parents, her brother, Michael, and her extended family have established the Ashleigh Rensing Memorial Scholarships. In this way, they hope that Ashleigh’s life will continue to serve others. There are three different scholarships that Liberty students are able to apply for. 

The Ashleigh Rensing Memorial Service Scholarship is a scholarship that any Liberty student can apply for, but special consideration will be given to those who participate in service learning such as Garden Club, Best Buddies, INSHOC, Students for Environmental Action, Difference Makers, etc. This scholarship was created in honor of Ashleigh’s active participation in a myriad of service clubs and projects. She understood the importance of “Service above Self” and that by helping others, we are all better off. This scholarship commemorates her kind and giving spirit. Funds will be awarded to three separate scholars in the amounts of $2,000, $1,000, and $500. The funds will be distributed to the student after completion of occupational training or upon completion of a first semester at a higher learning institute.  

Ashleigh and long time friend posing at a get-together. (Courtesy of Nora Franken)

After high school, Ashleigh had plans to pursue a career in the medical field, specifically in the field of veterinary medicine, as she loved all animals. This scholarship commemorates her love of science, her curiosity, and her passion for helping others. The Ashleigh Rensing Medical Program Scholarship was created for students who want to pursue medicine, similar to Ashleigh, and is open to any Liberty student planning to enter a field of medicine. Special consideration will be given to applicants with at least a 3.5 grade point average as well as to those who are considering pursuing veterinary medicine. Funds will be awarded in the amounts of $2,000 and $500. Distribution will be to the student’s institution of higher learning at the completion of the first semester. 

Besides pursuing veterinary medicine, Ashleigh had other ambitions too. She was set on enlisting in the military to further her education and to serve her country. The Ashleigh Rensing Civil Servant Scholarship Award commemorates her dedication. This scholarship application is open to any Liberty student who plans to enter a field of Civil Service (military, ROTC, law enforcement, firefighting, EMT, etc.). Special consideration will be given to applicants with a 4.0 grade point average. Funds will be awarded in the amounts of $2,000 and $1,000. Funds will be distributed to the student after completion of initial training. All of these scholarship applications will be due April 15th, 2022. Applications can be dropped off or emailed to [email protected]

Ashleigh Rensing was a valued member of the Liberty community and always will be. These scholarships represent her legacy and what she stood for. They were established as a way to remember Ashleigh and show who she was as a person. She wasn’t afraid to dream big and was always willing to help others; when we remember Ashleigh and her legacy, it encourages us to be better and bring honor to her name.

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