Hardin Valley Academy 2011 graduate Scott “Impy” Impellizeri dreamed of college and becoming a Knoxville Police Department SWAT officer, but a tragic accident cut his plans and life short just before he was set to attend Middle Tennessee State University.
In the wake of his untimely death, his parents, Tracy and John Impellizeri, have helped 37 college-bound high school seniors achieve their own dreams by providing scholarships in Scott’s memory since 2012.
Known by his father’s nickname “Impy” as he got older, Scott made his mark in the world through “a true passion for helping others,” Tracy recalled, describing him as a “leader and mentor” with a personality “that drew people to him.”
Applications for this year’s Scott “Impy” Impellizeri Memorial Scholarship currently are being taken.
The effort has grown to include two $1,000 scholarships, which are earmarked for books, supplies or other miscellaneous school-related expenses.
The first is available to seniors at Hardin Valley Academy planning to attend a two- or four-year college/university with a demonstrated passion for helping others.
The second is available to seniors within all Knox County schools planning to attend a two- or four-year college/university on the criminal justice path. They also must have demonstrated a passion for helping others.
Recipients for both are chosen based on community/volunteer service, essays and letters of recommendation from teachers or school counselors. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 19.
Scott “spent his time helping others and was always doing things for other people,” his mother said. “A lot of kids looked up to him, and he liked helping other people. He wanted things to be fair for everybody.”
He volunteered with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and Music City Quarter Midget Racing Association for children and teenagers ages 5 to 16 — a program in which he participated, then remained a part of to help other youth.
Scott’s contributions were recognized by school staff and fellow students, receiving the Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Service as a peer tutor.
Scott’s life was taken Aug. 7, 2011, by a “reckless driver,” Tracy said.
“After he passed, my husband’s cousin gave us a check and asked us to start a scholarship,” she added. “We had eight applications that first year, and were able to give one to each of the eight.
“We were so glad to be able to do it and help kids while also carrying on Scott’s name.”
She said the purpose of the scholarships are to “encourage and promote the attainment of higher education goals for students who are dedicated to helping others.”
The scholarships’ website can be found at www.scottimpy.org, which also includes the acronym IMPY to further describe Scott’s qualities as reflected in the eventual recipients: Integrity, Mentor, Perseverance and Youthful exuberance.
“People have been very generous in contributing to the scholarship efforts over the years, and John and I are extremely grateful,” Tracy said.
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