Scholarship fund established in memory of beloved 4-H member Zachary Parsons

September 27, 2016

Story source: Rachel Augustine, 573-884-7641

Zachary ParsonsCOLUMBIA, Mo. — The Zachary Parsons Memorial 4-H Scholarship was recently established by Debbie and Jason Parsons, the parents of Missouri 4-H member Zachary Parsons, who passed away Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in Johnson County, near Knob Noster. The scholarship was created to honor his memory and to recognize and encourage academic excellence among Missouri 4-H youth.

"I still struggle with how this world can go on without such a wonderful and caring soul," said Debbie Parsons. "But I know it will. That is why it is so important to us to establish this scholarship. I want all 4-H members to realize their dreams and to work hard.

"Zachary often said '4-H made me into the person I am today.' I want people to remember Zachary and how much he loved and benefited from 4-H," Parsons added.

This year, the fund will award one scholarship for $1,000 to Jesse Carroll of Warrensburg. Carroll is studying environmental plant science at Missouri State University. In future years, one annual scholarship will be available to a current or former 4-H member planning to enroll as a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior at an accredited four-year university.

Zachary Alan Parsons was born on Dec. 9, 1998 in Warrensburg, Mo. He was a junior at Sacred Heart High School in Sedalia at the time of his passing.

Zachary was very active in 4-H and his community and had a profound impact on nearly every person he met. He was a member of the Blackwater Bobcats 4-H Club in Johnson County and served as the west central representative on the Missouri State 4-H Council from 2013-2015. He also served as a 4-H representative on the MU Extension Council and was president of the Johnson County 4-H Council.

Zachary was selected to represent the west central region at National 4-H Congress and was honored with a 4-H Key Award in 2016. He was also a 4-H Legislative Academy delegate, where he spent three days in Jefferson City job shadowing Rep. Denny Hoskins. Prior to his death, he was selected to interview at the state level for National 4-H Conference.

Outside of 4-H, Zachary served on the Sedalia Leadership Council from 2015-2016. He was chosen as the Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year in 2015, was recognized in the National Honor Society and received Congressional Award Bronze and Silver medals. His goal was to achieve a Gold medal award before he left for college.

Zachary earned a $10,000 scholarship to Lindenwood University and was accepted for the Vanderbilt Summer Academy for talented youth at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, studying psychology, neuroscience and law.

"Zach had that rare gift of making everyone around him feel important, yet challenged everyone to achieve beyond their expectations," said Dr. Ina Linville, director of the MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development. "I believe this challenge lives on in those who knew him."

Memorial gifts may be given to the Zachary Parsons Memorial 4-H Scholarship Fund at the Missouri 4-H Foundation. A gift acknowledgment will be sent to the Parsons family.