Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Scholarship Project Begins

The idea of an educational scholarship was first mentioned by Ralph Russell, Jae Lynn’s father. A teacher at North Pulaski where Jae attended, he knew the power of educational assistance to teenagers considering college. The Russell’s were also eager to establish a positive memorial for Jae Lynn.
Through a series of telephone calls, the Russell’s were introduced to Mr. Reg Hammon who had experienced success in organizing fund-raising efforts. During the first meeting at the Russell's dinner table, Reg suggested that the other two families be asked to join in this scholarship effort.

The First Meetings

The three families had not kept a lot of contact with each other during the immediate aftermath of the accident. Although the girls had known each other, the parents were virtually strangers to one another.

The meetings for the planning of this scholarship began to occur approximatley 6 months or so after the accident. They were held in the families homes several times a month and seemed disorganized at first, as Mr. Hamman began to educate the families to “Think big!” and prepare to begin “a Marathon”.

The entire community seemed to all associate Jae, Taylore' and Alicia as the 3 Cheerleaders who had lost their lives in the accident, so the "3 Cheerleaders" name became permanently attached to the project.

The scholarship was something they all desperately wanted to pursue, however, they were still reeling from the loss of their daughters.
The meetings became a place not only of work for the scholarship project, but also a place of unconditional support, care and mourning in the middle of the work.

The 50 Year Plan
The goal set for the scholarship fundraising effort was going to be $250,000 for each girl.
If Jae, Taylore' and Alicia had lived another 50 years, they would have been active and productive members of this community. An annual scholarship in their names will allow them to continue to have an impact and influence on this community, even though they are no longer with us.

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