Parker Brizzolara

Lake Highlands High School senior Parker Brizzolara has been named one of five finalists for the prestigious Davey O’Brien Scholarship. She was selected from nearly 100 exceptional North Texas student-athletes.

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Finalists are chosen based on their scholastic achievements, community service, character, leadership and varsity sports participation. Brizzolara is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, Girls Service League and Student Council. She has earned varsity letters in soccer and tennis, earning all-district, all-city and all-academic accolades in both sports. She has performed in choir and theatre, and she has served with the National Charity League for four years.

“It was such a surprise to hear that I was a finalist,” she said. “Lake Highlands High School and the entire LH community have been so supportive and given me so much encouragement leading up to the interview. This recognition means so much to me, and it feels good to see my hard work and discipline be acknowledged in such a visible way.”

Demonstrating leadership is a major qualification for the award, so I asked Brizzolara what makes her a good leader.

“Servant leadership is how I would describe my way of leading, and I think I exemplify that through my community service, leadership positions and work situations. My mom [Kelli] is someone who I’ve always been able to look to as an example of how to lead. She has held many leadership positions, and I have seen the way she handles them by always putting others’ needs before her own. Her work ethic shines through in everything she does, and she inspires me to have a high work ethic in the tasks that I am given.”

Brizzolara plans to study biology and become a physician or physician’s assistant. If she could go back in time, she’d give advice to her freshman self.

“I would say to enjoy the time you have, even though it will be stressful. Spend as much time as possible with your family and friends, and do the things you love. Don’t let the many demands of sports and school stop you from enjoying your last few years at home.”

Brizzolara is joined by fellow honorees Chris Simington of Jesuit College Prep, Avery Jackson of Hockaday, Charlie Humphreys of Cistercian and Josie Arbuckle of Greenhill. The recipient of the $30,000 scholarship will be announced Tuesday at a luncheon hosted by the Davey O’Brien Foundation. The other four finalists will be awarded scholarships for $2,500.

Robert David “Davey” O’Brien was born in Dallas in 1917 and played sandlot football for the Gaston Avenue Bulldogs. As quarterback, he led Woodrow Wilson High School to the state playoffs in 1932 before heading to TCU, where he earned the Heisman Trophy. He played in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring to join the FBI. He later worked in the oil business. O’Brien was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. He died of cancer in 1977.