One deserving Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School senior will become the recipient of the Gary Scott Scholarship this Thursday, which will mark the 50th year of commemorating the life of this American hero.
The namesake scholarship originated five decades ago in memory of Scott, who was a Le Roy native, distinguished ROTC graduate in Syracuse and Army lieutenant.
When Scott was presented with a choice of which branch of the Army he would join, he challenged himself to enter the infantry.
Scott felt this dangerous assignment would be worthwhile because he could prove himself to be an African American role model who created leadership opportunities for others.
Sadly, at age 22, Scott was killed in action during the Vietnam War when he sacrificed his life to save a fellow soldier.
Scott’s Syracuse University classmates and friends established a scholarship fund at Le Roy High School to honor Scott’s memory and encourage graduates to embody Scott’s ambition, courage and dedication.
“What inspires me to keep this on and have for 50 years is that we want to give back ... to the Le Roy community that’s embraced the Scott family and to give back to the students that receive the award and inspire them,” said Jim Bruen, a founder and lead coordinator of the scholarship fund.
Previous award recipients, Scott’s high school and university classmates, friends and family members are coming from across the country to celebrate Scott’s story together. This year, $8,000 will be awarded to a new scholarship recipient.
To set the 50th year of this scholarship apart, Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School will host a dinner in Scott’s name in the school cafeteria at 5:30 p.m Thursday (June 27).
The scholarship will be presented afterward at the annual awards ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Bruen said, “Seeing the kids that come back that have received this award, it’s a very rewarding night for me and for others. It clearly encourages us to continue to do it.”
Bruen said that he and others who were close to Scott are comforted by the thought that the award recipients will achieve great things in the spirit of the local hero.
“Looking forward, I would like this scholarship to go on for another 50 years," Bruen said. "In order to do that, I would cherish and appreciate funding to the scholarship at the Le Roy High School. That way we can keep the message, the passion and the mission going.”
The scholarship founders are seeking additional support from the Le Roy community in order to fund the award in future years.
Bruen said that past award recipients and prospective donors are welcome to contact the high school for more information about the dinner, award ceremony and the Gary Scott Scholarship.
Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School is located at 9300 South Street Road, Le Roy. Phone is (585) 768-8131. Website is here.
Photos of Gary Scott provided by Rebecca LeClair.