Parents to accept diploma at commencement When faced with tragedy, most people focus on their own feelings; they grieve and try to make sense of it, and some become bitter. But, every now and then, people inspire others with the manner in which they deal with great loss. This is exactly what the parents of Zachary Jones have been doing. Zach, as he was known by friends and family, died on May 12, 2006, after an eight-day battle with rabies. He contracted the disease after coming in contact with a rabid bat at his home in Atascocita. Zach’s parents, Larry and Connie Jones, have been determined to keep pushing ahead, as they say Zach would have done. And move they have. The couple started the Zach Jones Memorial Fund. For the second year in a row, they have raised funds to award scholarships to graduating seniors, and to help fight the disease that took Zach’s life. “We need to help find a cure for this most horrific disease. There is work in progress with Texas A&M to develop a research lab to help find this cure,” said Larry Jones. Through the Fund’s gala and golf tournament, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised. This year, $100,000 was raised between the two events. Five $5,000 scholarships have been awarded to 2008 Humble ISD graduates, along with a $1,000 scholarship to Cameron Cox from AHS for winning the Zach Jones Fighting Eagle Award, created by the AHS Athletic Department to honor Zach. Zach would have graduated from Atascocita High School this year. In addition to the scholarships already awarded, the Joneses gave $5,000 from the Fund to AHS Project Celebration, to help the 2008 graduating class. “The gala and golf tournament have been truly a success, to say the least,” said Larry Jones. “So many folks in the community have given so much time, effort and love to make this happen. Without their support, it could not happen ... they all need a pat on the back.” The school district recently made the decision to honor Zach with a posthumous diploma. Zach’s parents will attend the AHS commencement and accept their son’s diploma. “Zach lives on for all of us through the very important and positive impact his scholarships are having on graduating seniors throughout the district. Connie and Larry are very valued members of our community and we are delighted to be able to give them Zach’s diploma at AHS’ first graduation on May 31,” said Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo. AHS Principal Dr. Lawrence Kohn echoed Sconzo’s remarks. “Atascocita High School is proud and honored to award this diploma to Larry and Connie Jones for Zach,” said Kohn. The words of his parents, writing about Zach, taken from the Zach Jones Memorial Fund Web site, accurately describe the kind of attitude that Zach inspired. “Zach, buddy, our hearts are broken because we were not finished with you. And as we continue to pick up the pieces, our promise to you is that we will try. We will try, because we know that you would try. You improved us all; we are better for having known you; and each of us will miss you forever. You had a powerful love for life. In your honor we will move forward, remember the good times, try to make a difference, and most of all, we will keep laughing.” To learn more about this young man, the Fund, or to make a donation, visit www.zachjonesmemorial.com

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