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Sun, May 26

Defying the odds: With both parents deceased by his sophomore year, Logan Pratt accepts Dorrance Scholarship to attend NAU

Camp Verde High School senior Logan Pratt will attend Northern Arizona University on the Dorrance Scholarship. VVN/Bill Helm

Camp Verde High School senior Logan Pratt will attend Northern Arizona University on the Dorrance Scholarship. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – A well-spoken young man, Logan Pratt explained simply that the Dorrance Scholarship is for students whose parents did not graduate college.

At 18 years of age, Pratt is already making plans to finish college – though he said that what he learns in higher education could affect his career choices.

Unfortunate for Pratt, his mother and father won’t be there to see it.

By the time he was a sophomore, Pratt had already lost both parents – his mother to colon cancer when he was 13, then his father two years ago in a car accident.

“Those were rough times,” Pratt said. “Getting this scholarship, it shows I’m defying the statistic of kids this happens to, and moving past it the best way I can.”

Lara Lawrence, his advanced studies English teacher, said Pratt faces each day “with an open, engaged attitude.”

“He is beloved on campus by peers and faculty alike, and I would venture to say that he is known as much for his sharp sense of humor as his sharp intellect,” said Lawrence in the letter she wrote recommending Pratt for the scholarship he won on April 27.

Left and right side of brain

Academically, Pratt is one of the “top-five” students Lawrence has taught in her 23 years of education.

“He writes with a maturity and ease that makes me forget I am supposed to be grading his work,” she wrote in the recommendation letter. “When reading one of Logan’s literary or analytical texts, I simply become an engaged reader.”

But Pratt embraces his technical side, perhaps even more.

“I’d like to say [I’m more] analytical, by a longshot,” said Pratt, who plans to study electrical engineering at Northern Arizona University. “But there’s a creative side to me that can come out.”

Like graphic arts, which he has also studied for four years at Camp Verde. And video games. And his writing.

“My math is more natural than my writing ability,” he said. “But with a teacher as good as Miss Lawrence, and working at my writing, I’ve become okay at both.”

Okay for Pratt is a 3.9 unweighted grade point average.

Pratt also spent three years in track and field, and another two years in cross country. Running – and walking – are also among his hobbies.

But Pratt considers himself “scatterbrained,” with a ‘lack of being able to focus on things very sharply.”

Which must be part of his humility.

“I’m just another person,” he said. “Anyone could be where I am with hard work. I hope [my award] inspires that any normal person like me could have this opportunity. Scholarships like this are great, but anyone could have his life changed with an opportunity like that.”

Dorrance Scholarship

Established by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance in June 1999, the Dorrance Scholarship is open to Arizona high school graduates who pursue an undergraduate degree at one of Arizona’s public universities.

Each year, the Dorrance Family Foundation provides 30 scholarships for students with limited financial resources, and who are the first in their family to attend college and complete a four-year degree.

The award is renewable for a total of eight semesters of funding, and pays as much as $12,000 each year to its winners.

The foundation’s mission is to support education and natural resource conservation through scholarships, grants, and volunteer service.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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