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Six finalists named for Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship



FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 17, 2018) – The Davey O’Brien Foundation has announced the six finalists for the 32nd Annual Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship Award. The scholarship, underwritten by Higginbotham and Southwest Bank, is presented each January to an exceptional senior student-athlete in North Texas.

This year’s finalists, in alphabetical order, are: Sophie Isom (The Hockaday School), Ainsley McDonald-Boyer (Azle High School), Brandon Parrish (Joshua High School), Michael Smat (All Saints’ Episcopal School), Mason Ward (Keller High School) and Mikayla Wilson (Trimble Tech High School).

“Every year the selection committee is astonished by the quality of applicants for the award, and this year was no exception,” Chairman of the High School Scholarship Selection Committee David O’Brien Jr., said. “We are so pleased to have this group of outstanding young student-athletes associated with the Davey O’Brien Foundation.”

The recipient of the $30,000 scholarship will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 23, during the 11th Annual Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship Luncheon held at The Fort Worth Club. The Foundation will also award $2,500 scholarships to each of the five remaining finalists.

The Foundation has given away more than $1 million in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field to leadership in life. Recipients of the High School Scholarship Award are chosen on the basis of scholastic achievements, community service, character, leadership and varsity sports participation. As part of the selection process, the committee will interview all six finalists.

The winner will be honored Monday, Feb. 19, at the 41st Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner alongside Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award recipient Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

A limited number of individual tickets for the dinner are available in the Sunset Room for $200 each, a portion of which is tax deductible. Please contact the Davey O’Brien Foundation at (817) 338-3488 for more information.


About the Finalists

Sophie Isom (The Hockaday School)

A senior at The Hockaday School, Sophie Isom is an AP Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar with a 3.89 GPA on a 4.0 scale. She has totaled 11 letters between volleyball, swimming and track. Isom is the school record holder in four track events, including the 400 meters, and was team MVP in 2017. In addition, she has captained the volleyball and swimming teams. She co-founded and is secretary of a Health Occupations Students of America chapter, and is Vice President of the Ceramics Club. A Bronze Presidential Service Award recipient, she has served as an elementary school tutor, middle school mentor and Operation Kindness volunteer.


Ainsley McDonald-Boyer (Azle High School)

Ainsley McDonald-Boyer ranks third among 375 students at Azle High School with a 104.14 GPA on a 100-point scale. She is the treasurer of the National Honor Society and previously served as the junior class treasurer. In addition, McDonald-Boyer is president of the Robotics Team, is a founding member and co-President of the Rocket Club and is on the Math & Science Team. McDonald-Boyer is a two-year varsity letter winner in both soccer and track. She has done independent scientific research, developing a new diagnostic screening for dyslexia. In the community, she has served as a peer tutor and Community Caring Center volunteer.


Brandon Parrish (Joshua High School)

Brandon Parrish ranks fourth among 331 students with a 105.08 GPA on a 100-point scale. He is the Joshua High School Student Body President, National Honor Society President and NJROTC Commanding Officer. Parrish was one of fewer than 60 ROTC individuals in the nation awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement. In athletics, he has competed on the varsity football and rifle teams. A three-year starter and two-year captain on the football team, Parrish was a first-team all-district defensive end in 2017 and honorable mention in 2016. He has logged more than 300 hours of community service, including time with Toys for Tots and Adopt-a-Highway.


Michael Smat (All Saints’ Episcopal School)

Michael Smat is an AP Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar. A member of the Cum Laude Society and Tad Bird Honors College, he owns a 4.0 grade-point average at All Saints’ Episcopal School. Smat is a three-sport athlete, earning a total of 12 varsity letters in football, soccer and lacrosse. He twice earned all-state distinction from the Texas High School Lacrosse League as a goalie. In football, Smat earned all-conference honors as a center and was voted the team MVP. He is active at Holy Family Catholic Church and is a co-founder of the Original Music Education Program at Rivertree Academy.


Mason Ward (Keller High School)

Mason Ward ranks first among nearly 700 students at Keller High School with a 106.27 GPA on a 100-point scale. He is a National Merit Semifinalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction. In football, Ward earned second-team District 3-6A honors at nose guard in 2017, and was a three-time defensive player of the week. He also has competed on the track and field team in the shot put and discus. Ward serves as the Vice President of the National Honor Society, and is charge of the organization’s community service initiatives. He also has competed in UIL Computer Science competitions.


Mikayla Wilson (Trimble Tech High School)

Mikayla Wilson is listed first among 361 students with a 4.46 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale at Trimble Tech. She is a two-year President of the National Honor Society and a member of Key Club International. Wilson has competed on the varsity softball team since her freshman year, and is a two-time all-district performer. She earned first-team accolades in 2015 as an outfielder and second-team honors in 2017 as an infielder. Wilson has volunteered for the RD Evans Community Center, working with youth, and has been a part of several outreach programs serving food to those in need.




About the Davey O’Brien Foundation

The Davey O’Brien Foundation was founded in 1977 to honor and remember the strong character and leadership of football great, Davey O’Brien. Widely known for its Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, the Foundation recognizes champions on and off the field through awards programs encouraging academic and career success. The Foundation has given away more than $1 million in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field to leadership in life. For more information, visit


About Higginbotham

Higginbotham is a single source solution for insurance and financial services that brokers business insurance, employee benefits, retirement plans, executive benefits, life insurance and home/auto insurance from more than 250 regional and national carriers. It supplements coverage with comprehensive risk management and benefit plan administration. The firm was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, with more than 25 additional offices in the state and Oklahoma City. It ranks by revenue as the largest independent insurance firm based in Texas (Business Insurance, July 2017). The Higginbotham Community Fund was established in 2011 to support charitable causes in the firm’s markets by distributing grants to nonprofit organizations. To date, the fund has raised more than $1.4 million through employee contributions and pledges. Visit for more information.


About Southwest Bank

Proudly serving North Texas for 50 years, Southwest Bank is the largest, locally owned, independent bank in Tarrant County. In addition to full-service banking centers in Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington, Burleson, Grapevine, Mansfield and Saginaw, Southwest Bank maintains mortgage offices in Fort Worth, Dallas and Austin. Southwest Bank values its customers and believes in building loyal, lasting relationships through personalized service, honesty and integrity. For more information, visit Member FDIC.

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