Steamboat Springs Dusty Parrott says writing isn't his strongest skill, but a $7,500 scholarship suggests otherwise.
The 2008 Hayden High School graduate was one of three students in the state to win a Disaster Restoration Inc. Colorado Fire Service Scholarship this year. The scholarship is available to children and grandchildren of active fire service personnel.
Applicants must write an essay and demonstrate leadership, community service, academic success and financial need. Hundreds of students apply each year, according to Disaster Restoration.
Parrott said he's better at math than English - though he does pretty well at both. He plans to study civil engineering at the University of Wyoming in the fall.
Parrott said he wrote his essay about what his father, Dennis, has taught him. Lt. Dennis Parrott has volunteered with the West Routt Fire Protection District for 23 years, said his wife, Vickie Parrott.
"I wrote about how it influenced me to be a better person," Dusty Parrott said.
His father talks to him frequently about the dangers of drunken driving, he said.
"It's definitely made me a lot smarter and realize some of the consequences I could have been in if I made a wrong decision," Dusty Parrott said.
Parrott is the first West Routt student to receive one of the Disaster Restoration scholarships, Fire Chief Bryan Rickman said. Parrott said he was surprised that he wound up with the $7,500 award. The other winners, Whitney Means and Kallie Royal, live on the Front Range. Means also received $7,500, and Royal received $5,000.
Parrott said his parents were proud. He received the check in a ceremony at the West Routt station last month.
"They were pretty excited," he said. "They thought that was a good achievement for me."
The panel that chose him was impressed by his accomplishments despite some challenges, Dusty Parrott said.
"They said some of the things that I've overcome throughout my life : mainly got it for me," he said, "like having dyslexia and graduating with a 4.02 (grade-point average) and being third in my class."
Rickman said he was impressed with Parrott's success, particularly because hundreds of students applied for the three scholarships. He said he has known Dusty Parrott for most of the teenager's life.
"He's great - he really is," Rickman said. "Very involved in the community, and just a good kid. He's one that you're proud to call part of the family."
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