The Michael A. Howard Jr. Memorial Scholarship
This two-year scholarship was established in 1981 by the Police Benevolent Association of Watertown, New York, shortly after the death of six-year-old Michael A. Howard Jr, a son of a Watertown police officer. It is awarded to a full-time returning senior enrolled in Jefferson Community College's criminal justice program. Preference is given to a son or daughter of a deceased, retired or employed law enforcement officer in the City of Watertown.
Michael Anthony Howard Jr. was born June 13, 1974, in Watertown, New York, a son of Michael A. and Linda Jordan Howard. Michael lived with his parents and two step-brothers, John and Randall. At the time of his death, he was a kindergarten student at Sacred Heart School in Watertown.
According to his father, Michael was a 'typical little curly-haired kid.' Rocky was his hero. Star Wars' Darth Vader was his favorite bad guy. Kiss was his favorite rock band. He liked making shapes with Play Doh.
Michael also loved dogs. Even before he could walk, he would attend dog field trials with his father, seeing the action from the luxury box of his father's shoulders.
Watertown native Francine Montcalieri, then 15, babysat for the 3-year-old 'adorable' little boy. 'We once had a water balloon fight. Water was all over the kitchen,' Mrs. Montcalieri said, then added, 'Michael meant a lot to me. He was a sweetheart.'
When he was four, Michael was diagnosed with cancer. 'Sometimes he got frustrated, but after a while he adjusted. There were days he would feel good and wouldn't feel the pain. He would laugh,' said Mr. Howard.
Mr. Howard said Michael 'learned to do the things he could do.' One night, father and son watched the movie Rocky on television, eating bowls of cereal together. 'He always wanted to be Rocky,' said Mr. Howard.
Michael died November 8, 1980.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is thankful to the Watertown Police Benevolent Association for establishing this scholarship in memory of a brave little boy.