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Zomara Lee of Kecoughtan High School earns the Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award


Zomara Lee, a senior at Kecoughtan High School (KHS), has earned the Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award and $20,000. One student is selected from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts for demonstrating academic accomplishment, excellence of character, qualities of leadership, and devotion to duty.


Zomara was awarded the check, along with an engraved Jefferson Cup, and two books written by the late Senator Byrd. She received these items on March 17, 2022, in Richmond, VA from the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, Honorable William C. Mims, and the grandchildren of Senator Byrd, Gretchen Byrd and Tom Byrd.


The process to earn the award is a rigorous one that involves several steps. One student in each high school in Virginia is chosen to submit their application for the award. Applications are distributed from the admissions office of the University of Virginia (UVA). A committee of four from the University of Virginia, the University of Richmond, the College of William & Mary, and Washington and Lee University review the applications and reduce the list to 33 applicants. This represents three students from each congressional district.


Students then participate in a two-day interview with a committee of 10 citizens with Justice William C. Mims of the Supreme Court of Virginia serving as the chair. The committee and Mims select the 11 winners.


“Senator Byrd believed than an educated community is necessary for democratic government to thrive,” said Mims. “He established this award because he wanted to recognize and reward young men and women who excel academically and demonstrate qualities of leadership.”


An endowment established by Byrd at UVA is used to fund the scholarships.


Zomara plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall and major in animal and poultry services.


“The Harry F. Byrd Scholarship is awarded to those students who are hardworking, dedicated academically, self-motivators, strong leaders and one who cares about their community,” said KHS counselor Monica Edmonds. “Zomara embodies all of those qualities and more. She has the strength and determination to achieve her goals no matter what hurdles she may have to overcome. I am so proud of Zomara and I cannot wait to see all of the awesome things that I know she will accomplish in the years to come!”


Congratulations to Zomara on this outstanding award!