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UNSUNG HERO: Paralee Scrivner and the John Scrivner Memorial Scholarship

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MT. VERNON, IL (WSIL) -- A Mt. Vernon woman honored her late husband when she created a scholarship in his name. The scholarship has helped high school seniors start their college careers with a little extra cash in their pockets.

Paralee Scrivner has been giving scholarships to Mt.Vernon High School seniors and beyond for 27 years. She began the John Scrivner Memorial Scholarship in memory of her husband, who died in 1993 from an aneurism while working at the Mt. Vernon Fire Department. He was 49-years-old. She says John was active with the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Vernon, the Amy Center, Special Olympics of Southern Illinois, and many other groups. In memory of her late husband, combined with her love for sports, she's given out 331 scholarships since 1994. She said it's because she wanted the students to know their hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

"Kids that are in sports or do well Academically put in a lot of hours. They not only keep their homework up, but there are practices before school, after school. Their parents, when they are younger, drive them all over the world, so those people too are heroes in my book," said Paralee.

Early into the school year, Paralee hands out a letter to students who are interested in the scholarship. In the letter, she asks specific questions such as what they plan to do, a name, and address. She looks at academics and athletes.

Mt. Vernon High School Head Girls Basketball Coach Jeff Lonnon said
this mother of four means a lot to the community. Affectionately known as Grandma to students young and old, she hardly ever misses a game.

"We appreciate her, and we love her for what she's represented for us," said Lonnon.

When Coach Lonnon ordered sweatshirts for his 25-member team, he ordered one more for her. He said she is a staple at sporting events. He described her as kind, humble, classy, and a great example.

"We could all learn a lot if we just watched how she lives her life and how she treats people, and if there's one thing that we can take away from this, that I hope the kids take away from it, it's that," said Lonnon.

Paralee said she plans to continue giving out the scholarships for as long as she can. She has also given scholarships to students in Harrisburg and Bluford.

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Evie Allen

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