St. David's Stories

The Healthcare Leaders of Tomorrow: Our Neal Kocurek Scholars

Our St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund is one of the largest scholarship programs in Texas, supporting scholars from Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. Since the scholarship’s inception in 2005, more than 550 students have received scholarships to study medicine, nursing, physical therapy, biomedical engineering and other health-related careers.

This July, the Foundation awarded a record 61 scholarships to students who will begin their journey toward healthcare careers at colleges this fall. Each year, we pick one scholar from the group to receive our Alfred A. King Chairman’s Award, which is given to a student who the scholarship committee believes exemplifies the highest level of educational values, community awareness, and civic stewardship.

Our 2019 class of Neal Kocurek Scholars.


Thomas Bates was this year’s Alfred A. King Chairman’s Award recipient. Thomas has ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia, and while these disabilities may have been a challenge, he never allowed them to hold him back and has maintained a 4.0 GPA though his whole high school career. Thomas’ father passed away when he was only seven years old, leaving his mother to care for Thomas, his twin sister who has Down Syndrome, and his older brother.

Losing his father at such a young age and serving as his sister’s protector has given Thomas a different perspective on life. It taught him the value of time and not taking it for granted as well as the importance of being kind to others and yourself. His father also struggled with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, but persevered and worked hard. Thomas believes that if he has half the grit and determination his father did, he can go on to accomplish anything. He will be attending Trinity University this fall and plans on becoming a Medical Researcher in the fields of immunology or microbiology.

Our Alfred A. King Chairman’s Award Recipient Thomas Bates (third from left) with his family at our Neal Kocurek Scholarship Awards Dinner.


We are incredibly proud of our 2019 Kocurek Scholars, including Thomas, and look forward to following along on their journey to a career in healthcare. These scholarship would not be possible without Toast of the Town, our series of unique events hosted in private homes and interesting venues throughout central Texas each spring. All of the proceeds raised by donors and sponsors go toward the scholarships, and that amount is matched each year by the Foundation. 

You can learn more about our St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship by clicking here.

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