Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) started up a scholarship in memory of the late farm broadcaster Mark Pearson. It pays full tuition to qualifying Iowa FFA chapter presidents.
His son, Mike Pearson, says, “I think it creates a legacy for dad, that he would have been very, very proud of.”
Last year, 20 students accepted the Mark Pearson Scholarship. That’s nearly doubled this year.
DMACC student from Wall Lake, Emma Mortenson, says, “I got something in the mail from DMACC saying, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about this Mark Pearson Scholarship and you could potentially get free tuition.” And my dad was like, “If you don’t look at that, you’re crazy.”
Mortenson says she was planning on going to a private college but it was hard to pass up two years of tuition.
She’s not the only one, there are 46 FFA presidents who have applied for the scholarship this year.
“That tells us, this is a program that’s filling a need and it’s addressing a group of students that dad would have been really, really excited to help out.” Pearson says, “These are FFA chapter presidents, they’ve been willing to show how they can rise above and be trusted by their peers. They deserve a reward.”
There are more than 200 chapter presidents in Iowa who can get that reward.
Pearson says another reason he supports it is he’s also a DMACC graduate.
This is the second year of the scholarship and some students have already taken advantage.
Will Mellencamp a DMACC student from Clarinda says, “A lot of cool opportunities like this to meet cool people and a lot of good connections for later in life.”
Mellencamp is majoring in agribusiness. He likes the option of transferring to a four year college or getting right into the work force. At the Community College Trustee building, he got to network with some agriculture leaders who are part of the sponsorship.
Mortenson is in elementary education, she plans to transfer, “Not only does it just help with your tuition costs because college is so expensive nowadays, but DMACC has so many opportunities and so many networks with other colleges.”
Disclosure: The Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the owners of the Agribusiness Report, are one of the sponsors of the Mark Pearson Scholarship.