Improving Public Schools through Research, Resources and Responsibility

2017 Regional Belcher Scholarship Essays

Read the 2017 Belcher Scholarship Essays below.

Springfield Public Schools

1st Place Winner for 2016 Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Award

Gerry Lee, Springfield Public Schools

2016 Winner of the Paul Morris Community Service Award

MSBA FutureBuilders Scholarships and Awards

MSBA FutureBuilders Golf Tournament

Proceeds from the participation and generosity of players and sponsors help fund the MSBA’s FutureBuilders Foundation. FutureBuilders provides 18 annual John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarships which are awarded to high school seniors from all areas of Missouri, helping our future leaders achieve their dream of a college education. FutureBuilders also supports and promotes the importance of adult community leadership and early childhood education.

Golf Tournament Details
For more information about the golf tournament, contact Todd Smith 573-445-9920 ext. 310,

John T. Belcher Scholarship Award

MSBA FutureBuilders established the scholarship program in memory of John T. Belcher, who was instrumental in developing innovative financing programs for Missouri school districts. The learning environment for thousands of Missouri’s public school students improved as a result of his work.

A $1000 annual scholarship is awarded to a student in each of MSBA’s 17 regions. Applicants are judged on the basis of academic performance, extracurricular activities and the quality of an essay. A statewide winner is selected from this group of regional winners and awarded an additional $1500. Scroll below to read the essays from each region.

The upcoming application period for will be October 10, 2017 – January 12, 2018

Paul Morris AwardPaul Morris Community Service Award

The Paul Morris Community Service Award was established by MSBA FutureBuilders to honor the memory of Paul Morris, a school board member from Mt. Vernon, who was serving as President of MSBA when he passed away on February 2, 2009. Paul devoted countless hours strengthening his community and improving its schools through his volunteer work. In addition to numerous community awards, he had served on the Mt. Vernon R-V Board of Education for nearly nine years and on MSBA’s Board of Directors for four years.

MSBA FutureBuilders receives nominations of current or past public school board members from Missouri who have shown a commitment to community service. Finalists are selected from statewide nominations with one individual selected as the overall statewide winner. The statewide winner receives a $1000 individual award.

NEW THIS YEAR! The statewide winner will also recieve $1000 for their school district.

Application Deadline is June 29, 2017

Early Childhood LogoThe Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Award

Deadline Extended to April 7, 2017

The Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Award recognizes outstanding early childhood education programs in Missouri. We want to celebrate YOU and your efforts in providing early childhood education, regardless of school size.
NEW THIS YEAR: Three statewide winners based on district size/student population will be announced:
Small = less than 500; Medium = 501- 4000; Large = more than 4000  Past applicants are welcome to reapply!
Contact: Colleen Mahon,

Melissa Randol,
Chief Executive Officer

Message from the CEO

Thank you for visiting the FutureBuilders website. As the non-profit education foundation of the Missouri School Boards’ Association it is our goal to celebrate the successes of our public schools and to recognize the achievements of both students and school leaders.

We believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy and that it is imperative that we counter the negative stereotyping of public schools so often expounded by the media and so-called “experts.”

Although FutureBuilders has been in existence for two decades, under the presidency of Paul Morris, MSBA began making a concentrated effort to enhance the activities and the visibility of the foundation. Paul’s sudden passing in February of 2009 provided additional impetus and a renewed commitment on the part of the FutureBuilders board of directors to ensure that this vision is fulfilled. In the days ahead MSBA FutureBuilders will continue working to spread the news about the good things going on day in and day out in Missouri’s public schools. Our unofficial motto is “Research, not rhetoric” and we plan to use that as our model as we help tell the true story of the successes of our public schools.


Colleen Mahon
Phone: 573-445-9920, ext. 340


2017 John Belcher Scholarship Essays

Students were asked to submit an essay to the following question:

Looking back over your high school career, what would your message
to your School Board be on improving the education of those who follow you?


Emerson Cochran, Winner of the Region 9 Belcher Scholarship

One struggle that I personally have faced these past few years is choosing a career path. This is often a self-initiated pursuit; however, I think it would be beneficial to everyone if our school offered more career exploration opportunities.

Emerson Cochran

Carthage School District, Region 9

Madison Straatmann Winner of the Region 12 Belcher Scholarship

Learning and gaining knowledge is such an exciting thing, a blessing that we are fortunate to have…students must feel like the classes that require hours of homework and late night study sessions are worth the time and effort.

Madison Straatmann

Washington School District, Region 12