Will Breedlove receives Rotary scholarship

Tom KingFarragut, Feature

Will Breedlove is an interesting young fellow. A little more than two weeks ago he graduated with honors from Farragut High School (4.16 GPA). He is 18 and will continue his education at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, this fall. In this day and time, when seemingly so many young people have what I call the “Entitlement Syndrome,” along comes Will Breedlove.

This past March, Chris Camp, the president of the Rotary Club of Farragut, opened an email from Will. He was asking if the Farragut Rotary club had any scholarships available for high school graduates, and if it did that he would like to apply for one. That was a first. A high school student taking the initiative to reach out to the club about a scholarship had never happened. The club took notice. And acted.

This past Wednesday our club presented Will with the $1,500 Danny Earle Memorial scholarship. Will plans to major in political science and is hoping to become an attorney, like his late grandfather, Jerry Wallace. Joining Will for the presentation at the Rotary meeting were his parents, Amy and Jeff Breedlove.

I was curious about this young man and followed up with Will, wanting to know more about him. It was an eye-opening conversation.

“I’d heard that Rotary might have some scholarships available so I decided to find out for myself,” he told me. “I made the decision that I was going to help my parents out and pay for half of my college education. And I’m just about there already.” He works and saves his money, bagging groceries at Ingles in Farragut. He worked on weekends during the school year and this summer is working a full weekly shift.

His score of 31 on the difficult ACT college examination earned him an $11,500 scholarship from Union. He went to Jackson earlier this year and participated in an academic competition and won another $2,500 scholarship. He received another $2,500 for attending and performing well at a Summit Youth Conference at Union. You get the idea here.

“My parents gave me the drive to do this and they’re helping me of course, but I’m trying to get every dime I can,” he said. “This is my education, not theirs.” He’s also paying for his car and his car insurance.

Here’s a bit more about this young man. Will was a peer tutor in Farragut High’s CDC special education classes, a member of the National Honor Society and ran cross country for two years. He wanted to expand his knowledge base about the world, so he took three years of Russian and was in the Russian Club. In his senior year he took five AP classes – calculus, European history, statistics, English and economics. With his high school credits, he says he will begin Union as a sophomore.

He has worked with a Lions club on its adopt-a-highway road cleanup project and worked with homeless children and youth through the Water Angels Ministry. He has been on two mission trips through his church, Christ Covenant Presbyterian in Farragut. His mother Amy is the part-time nursery director at the church.

There’s still another side of this young man to tell you about. I mentioned that he was a peer tutor for two years in Farragut High’s special education classes. That was for a purpose. Will’s younger brother, Ryan, who is 15, has a very rare eye cancer condition that has left him with multiple disabilities. This coming year Ryan will return to his classes at West Valley Middle and the next year will transition to Farragut High.

“I volunteered at Farragut in the special ed classes to check out these classes so my parents would know what to expect for Ryan in the future,” Will said. “They do a great job in these classes. Ryan will be fine.”

Will and his little brother are very close. When he leaves for Union in August it will be the first time for them to be apart. “It’ll be sad, for sure, really sad, not being around Ryan,” Will said. “Ryan has always been an inspiration to me with his personality and just being Ryan. Just a little bit of love makes him really happy and you know, I wish everyone was like that.”

And he’s only 18!

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