“Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.” Chief Tecumseh
Mark Stanke was an exceptional human. As a young adult, he was an accomplished volleyball and football student athlete at Truman High School in Independence, MO and at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA. Post-graduation, Mark worked for Chrysler Corporation for many years and rose in leadership ranks before his entrepreneurial spirit pushed him to launch his own business. Mark and his wife, Elizabeth, worked together to grow that business while making their home in Lee’s Summit, MO, and raising their two children, both graduates of Lee’s Summit West.
Mark valued advanced education and hard work earning his MBA. He was a respected, caring leader at work and in his community. Despite this strong work ethic, he always prioritized his family and extended family and certainly knew how to enjoy life to its fullest. He had a deep passion for sports (his kids’ sports, college sports, the KC hometown teams), the outdoors, traveling to Maine and Hawaii to visit family, and of course Kansas City barbeque!
Mark was beloved by many for his fierce optimism, humor, kindness, insight, and mental and physical toughness. He was a friend to everyone, and he went out of his way to make others feel cared for regardless of position or background. He passed away in 2014 after a courageous battle with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a rare form of cancer. Upon his passing, his wife Elizabeth found a poignant poem by Chief Tecumseh (above) that Mark had saved in his daily journal on his phone. Those words truly exemplified how Mark lived and died.
Mark was exceptional in the eyes of many, but his family believe he would suggest that everyone is worthy of and should aspire to live an exceptional life in the precious time they are granted.
To honor and pass on Mark’s legacy, the Mark Stanke Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by Mark’s family and friends to benefit students in Eastern Jackson County, Missouri who are graduating from Truman High School or Lee’s Summit West High School and who plan to pursue a degree at a four-year college or university. We wish the spirit of Mark, and the ripples he created in 52 years, may inspire future generations to live an impactful life full of gratitude, service, and love.
- Must be a graduating senior from Truman or Lee’s Summit West High School;
- Must be seeking a bachelor’s degree at any accredited college or university;
- Must have demonstrated strong work ethic and high ethical standards;
- Must have demonstrated acceptance, kindness, and respect beyond their family and friend group;
- Must have demonstrated determination and perseverance to overcome challenges;
- Must have demonstrated outstanding achievement in school activities such as sports, clubs, or out-of-school activities such as work and community service;
- Must have cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Up to $2,500 per academic year.
Not a renewable scholarship.
The General Application will be opened December 15 and will be due (including any additional requirements for scholarships you may be matched with) April 1.
Please note that the general application requires transcripts showing grades from Fall Semester 2023. Any applications submitted with transcripts omitting Fall Semester 2023 will not be considered.
- Submit an essay of approximately 500 words describing yourself and how you meet the following:
- An ethic of hard work balanced with a zeal for life;
- Perseverance to overcome adversity or challenges;
- Reflect on “Chief Tecumseh Death Song”: “Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.”
- One personal reference letter from a school or community leader describing how you meet the scholarship requirements.