Parrott senior earns prestigious scholarship
Is it the 600-plus hours of community service he’s completed during his four years of high school? His determination on the football and lacrosse fields? His avid interest and mastery of classroom knowledge?
These accomplishments surely played a major role in earning Kinston resident and Arendell Parrott Academy senior William McPhaul a prestigious Park Scholarship at N.C. State University.
But all 2,409 Park applicants from across North Carolina and around the globe had excellent resumes, too. What made the difference?
“I think William has a kind of ‘it’ factor that impressed the Park Committee,” APA college advisor Mitzi Moye said. “People gravitate to him, yet he’s the kind of leader who never shows an ounce of arrogance or superiority. He leads by working hard, taking on the least desirable jobs, and making it joyful for all around him. ”
In addition to seven mission trips in the past four years and considerable work as a youth Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Kinston, William designed and spearheaded a community project for the local Boys and Girls Club.
Working at his parents’ Chick-Fil-A restaurant last summer, he noticed how many 5-gallon pickle buckets were being sent to the trash. Using his interest in engineering and his leadership skills, he salvaged the buckets, taught Boys and Girls Club youngsters how to turn them into container veggie gardens and motivated them to complete the project, an experience he described in his Park application essay.
Surviving the rigorous scholarship selection process was a challenge. After a semifinalist regional interview in Wilmington, he learned he would attend Finalist Weekend on the N.C. State campus.
In addition to information sessions and a banquet, he completed another intensive interview and participated in a group discussion task.
“I knew March 1 was notification day, so I started checking my phone every 10 minutes,” he said. “Then I decided I was just freaking myself out. Later, I got a voicemail saying to call back as soon as possible. When the woman on the phone said they were offering me the scholarship, I just felt joy. Like a weight had been lifted.”
Since the inception of the Park Scholarship in the mid-1990s, Parrott has seen five other seniors receive the award.
“We couldn’t be prouder of William’s achievements,” Parrott Headmaster Bert Bright said. “He’ll make great contributions to the Park program.”