Parsons High School graduate Eli Koger will receive the first Philip R. ‘Phil’ Eaton Rotary Endowment scholarship.
Rotarian Rob Carnahan introduced Koger Thursday to Rotarians during their weekly meeting at the Wall Family Center.
Phil Eaton, a longtime Rotarian, was president and board chairman of Commercial Bank for years. He died in 2021. He was always interested and involved in the Parsons community and served on many boards and committees to improve the lives of others.
Eaton’s sister, Constance L. Applegate, created the endowment through the Rotary Foundation. The endowment will underwrite continuing education or advanced training for a deserving student in the Parsons area who embodies the principles of integrity, common sense, strong work ethic and dedication to family, friends and community.
“The lasting footprint left by Phil will be carried on in the advanced work pursued by students who receive this yearly assistance in the years to come,” according to a Rotary release.
Koger, the first recipient of the Eaton scholarship, will receive $2,000. Koger was one of four co-valedictorians at graduation for the PHS Class of 2023. He’s been active in tennis and soccer and in clubs and other organizations throughout his high school career.
Carnahan said Koger embodies the principles that Rotary looks for in awarding this scholarship. He’s been an accomplished student and throughout kept active in other school organizations.
Koger, the son of Joe and Shelley Koger, said he was born and raised in Parsons. He has a brother and two sisters and his parents work very hard.
“I grew up in a large loving family so I’ve had that to my advantage from the start,” Koger said.
At PHS, he earned various awards and achievements, including four years of academic letters. He joined many clubs and two sports in school.
“I tried my best in everything I did and it paid off greatly,” Koger said.
He will attend Pittsburg State University in the fall and study plastics and mechanical engineering technology. This program has led to many careers for PSU graduates. He said this career path is his next dream to accomplish and he’s confident it will become a reality.
He talked about integrity, common sense, work ethic and dedication and how all those principles have guided him to where he is today. Dedication ties it all together and he said dedicated people will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and dreams.
“They make the world a better place,” he said.
“I will show every one of these principles in my college experience,” Koger said.
During a question period, said he learned about engineering through the computer aided design courses at PHS and the teacher, Bruce Rea. Koger said he found he was good at auto CAD and wanted to become an engineer.
The University of Kansas has a top engineering program but Koger said he wanted to stay closer to home. PSU seemed to take a personal interest in showing him around the engineering building.
“They really want you there, I felt like,” Koger said.
Rotarian Brian Williams, the Labette Health CEO, encouraged Koger to consider health care, a field that also needs engineers to design machines and devices.
“We need engineers in health care. It’s just something to think about,” Williams said.
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