This weekend, I had the job of writing a short speech. I fund a high school scholarship in my mother’s name, and I was asked to participate in a video presentation for an anniversary celebration of the scholarship organization. Speech writing is a genre that is not very familiar to me, but it was a great way for me to, once again, honor and celebrate my mother.
Good Evening, and thank you for inviting me to participate in today’s celebration.
My mother (Patricia Weber Baxter Pelton) was a graduate of this high school. She was a member of the class of 1950. She went on to pursue a college education and career in the field of fashion design. In her later years, she became a painter, and then a jewelry designer. In addition to her incredible creativity and powerful work ethic, she was also a superb mother, wife, aunt, grandmother, and friend. Mom was strong, optimistic, and always hopeful, even when times were tough. When my mother died from pancreatic cancer a few years ago, I knew I had to do something to not only honor and remember her, but also to share her incredible spirit with others.
As I was considering a variety of possibilities, I remembered an experience we had with our oldest daughter when she was in high school. Our daughter received a yearly scholarship from The Susan Fund. Unfortunately Susan had lost her fight with cancer when she was far too young. To honor her memory, her family started a scholarship to provide tuition assistance for children who had struggled with cancer. Every year, when our daughter would receive her award, I watched as Susan’s mother met and congratulated each and every recipient. It was as if she were seeing her daughter live on in the hopes and dreams and futures of all of those children, one after another, year in and year out. What a beautiful way to both honor her daughter’s memory and create a meaningful legacy.
It was this memory that inspired me to create a scholarship in my mom’s name. It was Staples Tuition Grants that gave me the vehicle to make this happen. Each year we now attend the STG awards ceremony and have the opportunity to greet the students who receive our award. Each year we are so impressed with the students, their hopes and dreams, their strength, and their positive energy. Each year, we too feel as though mom is living on in the lives of these young people.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen the incredible strength of our country’s high school students They, like my mom, are strong, optimistic, and hopeful, even in the face of extreme adversity. It is an honor to be able to provide students with the funding they need and deserve to pursue an education so that they can work to make this world an even better place for all who inhabit it.
Thank you, STG, for giving me a way to honor and remember my mom, and also share her incredible spirit with others.