1992-2012 Scholarship Award Winners
Bobby Bragan, former major league baseball player, manager, and coach, established the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation in 1991 as an effort to encourage children to stay in school and pursue their educational and career dreams. The foundation recognizes outstanding eighth grade students each year by awarding the promise of a college scholarship to selected students who have competed in its annual scholarship competition. By focusing attention on the availability of aid for merit at the middle school level BBYF hopes to inspire students to plan for higher education, dedicate themselves to work hard to reach that goal, and push them to seek out additional aid at an earlier stage in their lives.
More than 37,000 eighth grade students from 146 public schools representing 22 school districts from across the North Texas metroplex are offered the opportunity to apply for these scholarships. Through this scholarship incentive program, the foundation gives students, regardless of need, the drive to stay in school, graduate, and go on to college.
The unique relationship of the foundation with professional baseball is especially exciting to these students, as well as to donors and supporters of the program. In addition, the assurance of financial assistance for college is particularly encouraging to an impressionable thirteen-year-old.
Over the last 24 years, the foundation has awarded 695 students more than $1.7 million in $2,500 scholarships. The success of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation scholarship program is proven by the fact that 97% of its recipients have graduated high school and enrolled in college. These young people have attended universities, colleges, and community colleges across the country, including Brown, Duke, Harvard, Los Angeles Community College, MIT, Mountain View Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Notre Dame, Rice, Stanford, Tarrant County College, Texas A&M, Texas Christian University, Tyler Junior College, The United States Naval Academy, The University of Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt, and Yale, among many others. While the foundation takes great pride in its scholarship winners that have gone on to attend some of the most prestigious universities in the country, BBYF takes equal pride in those that attend lesser known universities and colleges. The BBYF board continues to share Bobby Bragan’s dream of ensuring that every student that has the drive and desire to achieve higher education has the opportunity to do so, to their own betterment and the betterment of the community in which they live.
In the fall of each year, eighth grade students are asked to apply for a scholarship by completing an application which includes extensive information about their academic achievements, extracurricular and athletic activities, and community involvement from 6th through 8th grade. Students are also required to write an essay on their favorite role model. Each participating school then nominates the two most worthy applicants for consideration by the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation. On average, a total of 225 applications are collected from school counselors and English teachers for consideration each year.
A scholarship committee comprised of foundation board members assists in presenting applications to the schools, and also participates in the scholarship review process, ultimately selecting the 34 students who will receive scholarships. The committee is assisted during the review process by college English honors students, who score the essay portion of each application. A Scholarship Celebration is held in the spring, at which all the winners and finalists for that year are recognized.
Whether the student is an applicant, finalist, or winner, the application process offers them an introduction to the scholarship process and also alerts them to the importance of academic achievement throughout high school.
The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation continues to communicate with its winners, encouraging them to do their best during their high school years. Many students go on to apply for other scholarships during their junior and senior years, maximizing their potential for a quality education.
Since its founding, the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation has provided support for these impressive young people by demonstrating confidence in their drive and determination and offering them encouragement with financial assistance. Scholarship funding has been provided by Mr. Bragan, his friends and family, as well as numerous corporations and foundations.
In addition to an advisory board comprised of supporters from across the country, a local board of directors is involved in conducting various programs of the organization through committee work, financial support, and volunteering at events.
The foundation’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award Gala is a primary source of revenue for the scholarship fund. A notable personality from the world of sports, business, journalism or philanthropy is honored at the gala each year, along with past scholarship winners who have entered their senior year in high school.
Scholarships are paid out annually from the scholarship endowment fund, which has significantly increased over the life of the fund. Donors that make a donation in the amount of $50,000 earn the honor of having a scholarship permanently established in their name. These named scholarships serve as a perfect vehicle for honoring a loved one in perpetuity.
The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation motivates youth to become better scholars, citizens, and athletes, and to serve as leaders and role models for their peers.
The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation hosted a first-time event for its scholarship winners who have just graduated from high school, along with past winners that are attending the same colleges that the former will be heading off to this fall. These past and current scholarship winners were invited to be BBYF’s guests at a dinner held for them at Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth on June 27th. Rising freshmen were seated with their future fellow alumni and had the opportunity to ask questions about the colleges they will be attending. Many of the students brought along parents, siblings, and friends, which resulted in a good-sized crowd for this inaugural event of about 65 attendees.
The evening was a great success, and it was decided by all present that the get-together should be a Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation tradition. Many of the college freshmen expressed their desire to return next year to share their insight with our 2014 graduated seniors!