GALION — Taylor Zumbro died of a pulmonary embolism on Nov. 21, 2010. She was 16 years old and a sophomore at Galion High School interested in journalism and health care as potential career fields.
To honor her, friends and family decided to start a scholarship fund in 2013. Since then, $6,000 has been given to deserving candidates at Galion High School. This year, senior Jun Hao Zheng was the recipient of the $1,000 Family and Friends of Taylor Zumbro Scholarship.
Zheng was recognized by the school board earlier in the school year for his status as a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Process.
To be selected, students write a 500-word or less essay. The essay’s content must include the individual’s goals and how he/she will achieve them, why he/she is deserving of the scholarship and how he/she will create awareness surrounding factor V leiden — the genetic mutation that may have caused the blood clot in Taylor’s lung.
According to Genetics Home Reference, factor V leiden is a genetic mutation that causes abnormal blood clotting. Only 10 percent of individuals who carry the genetic mutation ever develop abnormal blood clots.
In his essay, Zheng said he remembers when Taylor passed and how many students were having their blood tested for the genetic mutation. One of his friends tested positive. Moving forward, he hopes to spread awareness by encouraging everyone to be tested for the genetic mutation.
“She probably had it but we don’t know because they can’t test it,” Taylor’s mother Lori Zumbro said. “There was probably something else going on that put her at an increased risk. Because usually it’s something that happens at an older age or there’s something else going on or they’re bedridden.”
The recipient also needs to display superior academic performance, holding at least a 3.0 GPA. The scholarship also requires a high school transcript, along with two non-family references.
Zheng finished his senior year at the top of his class of 124 and earned valedictorian honors. He had a GPA of 3.995, scored a 31 on his ACT and a 2210 on the SAT. When he took the P-SAT during his sophomore year, he finished with a score that placed him at the top 3 percent in the school.
He was also the National Honor Society president, served in Key Club, volunteered at Horizon Animal Hospital in Galion and participated in the Mid-Ohio ESC Academic Challenge for the last two years.
Zheng plans on attending the University of Findlay for Pre-vet/Animal Science/Zoology in the fall.