Student succeeds on and off the field

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It might be easier to make a list of all of the things that Fort Worth Country Day senior Morgan Pergande hasn’t done.

He is a 2013 recipient of one of the oldest, most prestigious merit scholarships in the country, named 2012 Most Valuable Player as quarterback and safety, a lead in his school’s theatre production of Legally Blonde and Fort Worth Country Day Student Body President.

Now, he is headed to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the fall – on their dime.

Pergande is the only student in the history of Country Day to receive the Morehead-Cain Scholarship from UNC. One of 64 recipients across the United States, Pergande has the kind of maturity and world-cautiousness that is rare in someone his age, Abby Noel, associate director of college counseling at Fort Worth Country day, said.

“He’s the kind of kid that you want your son to grow up to be like,” Frank Gendusa, director of athletics, said.

Morehead-Cain scholars receive four years and four summers fully funded. Which means that Pergande’s tuition, student fees, housing and meals, as well as all books and a laptop will be provided for the entirety of his undergraduate experience.

Gendusa emphasized that this is no small prize, and Pergande competed against the best students in the nation for the honor.

Country Day is one of few schools eligible to nominate students for the award. Last fall, the counseling center surveyed department chairs and asked for recommendations. After Pergande’s name made the cut, he then had his application reviewed, went through a screening and interview before being selected as the sole on-campus representative in October. The program selected Pergande to receive the award in March, Noel said.

“We looked for students who are well-rounded in every aspect,” Noel said. “They are the strongest academically, but also who do so much more.”

Aside from his role as football captain, he is also on the lacrosse and soccer team. Pergande has virtually no offseason in his senior year, but reflects back to a night in October, during the Battle of Bryant Irvin and a long-awaited 33-14; win against rivals Trinity Valley, as one of the best memories of his last year of high school.

“I had more fun playing football this year than I ever have,” Pergande said.

The lack of an offseason for the future Tar Heel spans beyond athletics. Pergande served as student council class representative during his first three years of high school before ultimately becoming president as a senior. Pergande notes, however, that one of the most exciting roles he plays on campus is the one where he gets to become someone else.

Pergande played the lead role of Warner in this year’s production of “Legally Blonde,” his fourth production to take part in at Country Day.

“A lot of people see me as the guy that plays three sports and who’s in student council, but being in musicals really throws them off,” Pergande said.

Although Pergande is a 13-year product of Country Day, he said moving to Chapel Hill and starting something new in the fall is going to be really exciting. Pergande said he hopes to pursue a degree in medicine and ultimately aspires to be a doctor.

While the future of Pergande is his current focus, the senior said that he will miss the people at Country Day the most, as well as the freedom to discover his passions allotted to him by the only school he has ever known.

“Country Day gave me the opportunities to explore and find what I really love doing,” Pergande said. “I don’t think I could have gotten that opportunity anywhere else.” 

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