The Stuart Mazanec Scholarship

Stuart Mazanec was the son of Leon and Pam Mazanec, who moved to the Larkspur area in the spring of 1988.  Stuart was born July 21, 1988.  His sister Meredith was born in April 1990.  Stuart and his sister attended Larkspur Elementary School from Kindergarten through sixth grade.  Stuart’s mother, Pam, was LES PTO president for two years and chaired the first five LES PTO Boot Scootin’ Boogies.

Stuart attended a rodeo clinic in April 2006, because he wanted to try out rodeo.  He successfully rode his first bucking bronc for 10 seconds, but got caught in the rigging when trying to dismount.  The horse fell on him and then rolled over him.  His heart was squeezed between his sternum and his spine, causing serious damage.  Despite efforts to repair his heart, Stuart died from complications of his injury on April 26, 2006, one day after his sister’s 16th birthday.  He was 17 years old, and would have graduated from Douglas County High School on May 25, 2006, his father’s birthday.  Let us tell you a little about Stuart:

Stuart was a good but not outstanding student, though he was certainly very intelligent.  Stuart preferred outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and riding horses to any indoor activity, with the exception of reading.  He was a voracious reader, beginning in late elementary school.  Stuart’s favorite author at the time of his death was Louis L’Amour, who wrote novels about the old west, as well as just historical novels about early settlers to America.  Stuart said he wished he could have lived 100 years earlier.

Stuart was a very good child, but not a perfect adolescent; he once pierced his own ear, started a fire in our front yard, and drove into a guard rail after sneaking out of the house.  His grades were good, but he didn’t put as much effort into his schoolwork as he should have.  He argued with his sister, and of course, with his parents.

On the other hand, Stuart never rebelled against our family tradition of kissing, hugging, and saying I love you whenever we left each other.  This included us as well as extended family members.  I don’t ever recall any hesitation in front of his friends. 

Stuart always attended church with us, went to religious education and was confirmed his Junior year.  At one point early in his confirmation classes, Stuart considered the priesthood.  

Stuart worked for his dad beginning around age 13, and the summer before his death, he worked at a building supply warehouse.  Both jobs were manual labor.

Stuart didn’t complain much about driving his sister to and from school, volleyball practice or to the movies, even though he had to ride the bus to and from school through his sophomore year, since he didn’t turn 16 until July after that year.  He went to almost all her volleyball tournaments (he always had a paperback in his pocket for down time) and was popular with her teammates and other parents.

Stuart wrestled in middle school and high school and played soccer in high school after not playing for years.  He was never an outstanding wrestler or soccer player, but preferred being physical to sitting on the couch, and we were proud he was willing to try even if he was never in the spotlight.  Stuart was more successful in 4H Shooting Sports, where he competed in air rifle, shotgun and archery.  He qualified for the National Team a couple years before his death. 

Stuart had been accepted to Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he planned to study wildlife biology; he hoped to have a career as a wildlife biologist or game warden—something “outside”.  

In closing, Stuart was in so many ways a normal kid.  In other ways, he stood out; both before and since his death, we heard from so many that he was a good friend, a good acquaintance, and a kid who was both respectful of adults and comfortable conversing with them.  There are many scholarships available to outstanding students.  We would like to award this scholarship to students who, like Stuart, may not stand out academically, but still stand out.    

Good luck on your application and thank you for applying.

The Mazanec Family


Stuart Mazanec Application Questions 

  1. Share with us your thoughts and most memorable experiences about living in Larkspur and attending Larkspur Elementary School.
  2. After reading Stuart’s biography, tell us if you found any connections, and share with us your interests and activities.
  3. Tell us who has had the most significant influence on you, and how.
  4. Share with us your challenges and accomplishments since graduating from Larkspur Elementary.
  5. Tell us about your plans and hopes after graduation from high school.
  6. In 500 words or less, what advice would you give to this year’s 6th grade Larkspur graduates, as they move forward in their educational journey?

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