Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri is proud to announce graduating seniors Cooper Sparks and Matti Mergen have been named the winners of the Boys & Girls Club Alumni Scholarship.

Both will receive $1,000, thanks to a generous matching gift from McCarthy Toyota of Sedalia.

“It’s always a tremendous honor to recognize our students with a scholarship to further their education,” said Executive Director Gary Beckman. “We acknowledge the dedication, commitment and determination to get to graduation and that these things didn’t occur overnight, but started years ago with encouragement and support from many. Our hope is that this investment in our outstanding youth will pay future dividends that will change our world.”

The Boys & Girls Club Alumni Scholarship honors two graduating seniors who previously attended a Boys & Girls Club Site. As part of the application, students had to write a short essay about what attending Boys & Girls Club meant to them, in addition to providing letters of recommendation and transcripts.

Sparks, who attends Smith-Cotton High School, attended BGC for six years and noted during his time there he had opportunities to interact with other students who he otherwise wouldn’t have known.

“I always enjoyed getting to talk with my friends, meet new people and just have fun,” Sparks said in his essay. “The opportunities for socialization, mentoring and leadership at Boys & Girls Club have greatly impacted me as I have transitioned through my high school years and my involvement with Team SCREAM (Smith-Cotton’s robotics team).”

Mergen, who attends Green Ridge High School, attended BGC for seven years and was named Elementary Youth of the Year when she was in fourth grade.

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“Boys & Girls Club was not only a place I went to after school and during the summer…it was somewhere I made friends, learned about myself, gained knowledge and developed leadership,” Mergen wrote.

“We’re so proud of our alumni scholarship winners. They both provided touching essays about what their Club experience meant to them and the great staff who helped them along the way,” said Director of Operations Tyler Hudson. “We’re happy to help them as they start their journey into adulthood.”

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