Eugene High School’s 2022 valedictorian, Braeden Short has already left a lasting legacy as an academic achiever, athlete, community activist, and leader. At a young age, Braeden began a history of academic excellence. Starting in first grade, he was chosen to participate in the SAIL (accelerated learner) program at Cole R-V and continued his academic career with consistent scores above the 98th percentile on all standardized tests — including an ACT score of 33 as a high school freshman.

“Braeden is a young adult that excels in all these activities and more,” says Pam Lepper, Braeden’s former track coach. “Not only has Braeden excelled as a student, but he’s also balanced his academics with extracurricular leadership positions. I had the pleasure of coaching him in track and field for several years, where his hardworking and quiet leadership style was instrumental in our team chemistry — as younger athletes looked to him as a role model.”  

Braeden was also captain of the Scholar Bowl team and was elected president of the National Junior Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Student Council. Of all the activities Braeden has participated in, his time in Eugene High School’s Student Council was especially important.  

“The Eugene Student Council is especially important to me because my officers and I built the program basically from the ground up,” Braeden says. “The group was very inactive and disorganized when we came on, but we turned it into an effective and active club to make school more fun. We organized regular pep rallies, sponsored activities for mental health awareness, and even gave back to our teachers. I am proud of the work we did not only to make school more enjoyable today but also of the organizational improvements we made and the legacy we left for future STUCO leaders.” 

As a senior in high school, Braeden applied to 11 universities but instantly knew Notre Dame was the right place for him upon visiting their campus. With interests in finance and aspirations for positive change, he will double major in political science and economics with possible plans of attending law school down the road. 

Fiscal issues stand out as particularly important to me,” Braeden says. “Without a sound and sustainable budget, our country cannot make desperately needed investments in infrastructure, climate change mitigation efforts, education, or childcare. The first step to making any meaningful progress on these important issues is to be able to afford them, which I am unable to say we could do today.” 

For those who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Braeden, they have no doubt he will go far and achieve great things. And Braeden also holds confidence that other students can do the same, as long as they hold confidence in themselves. 

“My first piece of advice would be to not sell yourself short,” Braeden says. “Often, the only thing standing between you and success is your attitude, a belief that you can’t do something. Removing those doubts, while still obviously being realistic about what you can achieve, will open many doors. 


Who inspires you?  

My mom inspires me. We are – and I can’t stress this enough – sodifferent, but that’s part of the reason I am so inspired by her. She’s efficient to a fault, a doer with no concept of the word “can’t.” She’s a serial multitasker with a list for anything and everything. She spends all day at work, keeps up with the house, works on the farm, and somehow still manages to never miss any of my sister’s or my events. I couldn’t have a better source of inspiration to draw from. 

What’s your favorite book?  
One Billion Americans” by Matthew Yglesias. The book lays out the case for increasing American population growth to keep up with faster-growing nations like China and India by fixing the underlying factors that have caused a decline in birth rates over a number of decades. 

What’s your favorite subject in school and why?  
My favorite subject is history. I’m a sucker for stories, and history is basically just a really long story of the entire world. 

What’s your favorite movie/tv show and why? 
My favorite TV show is American Dad. It’s great for casual watching with its humor and crazy characters. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 
I would choose the power of flight because I feel like it would be so freeing to drift hundreds of feet up in the air. 

This or That

Disney or Nickelodeon
DC or Marvel
Fruits or Vegetables
Laptop or Tablet
Pizza or Hamburgers
Michael Jordan or LeBron James
Winter or Summer
In-school or At-home classes
PE or Art
Fortnight or Minecraft
Bike or Scooter
PlayStation or Xbox
TikTok or Instagram

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