San Antonio.- Jessica Redfield Ghawi was 24 when she was murdered in Aurora, Colorado during a mass shooting in a movie theater on July 20, 2012. (Courtesy photo )
Jessica Redfield Ghawi will never be forgotten. The vivacious, bright-eyed 24-year old was one of 12 victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting on July 20, 2012 but lives on in our hearts.
Ghawi was an aspiring sports journalist adored by those in the industry. News of her death hit San Antonio hard as many of her friends and former co-workers were distraught.
Soon after her death when her mother, Sandy Phillips, and brother, Jordan Ghawi, set up a scholarship fund in her name so that she will never be forgotten.
“When she was murdered it was like ‘okay what can we give back what would she want us to give back,’’’ her mother said. “We decided to make it easier for somebody her age, in her field, who is either a junior or senior in college to be able to breathe a little easier and not worry so much.”
The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund founded in her name will help take the burden off a female college student following the same path Ghawi did. To date the scholarship fund has raised $90,000 and the goal is $320,000 so the fund can be self-sustaining for the next 20 years according to her mother.
Jessica knew what it took and worked hard to get where she was professionally.
“She worked part-time, went to school full-time, had three internships and it was hard. She was constantly running and constantly stressed,” her mother recalled.
This year one lucky lady will be awarded with a $10,000 scholarship. Moving forward her family plans to give out two, $10,000 scholarships per year.
“Some young lady, somewhere in the country this year will be very happy. I will get to meet her too which I’m thrilled about,” Jessica’s mother said. “That’s what she would have wanted…Jessi was a very compassionate young lady.”
“I get letters every day from people that say Jessi changed my life, sometimes it is people who knew her well and sometimes they are total strangers, people who never met her. But, reading her story and about her they’ve made different choices in their life,” she added.
The scholarship application and requirements for the scholarship are available at the San Antonio Area Foundation’s website, SAAFDN.org. The deadline is March 1, 2013.
Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr. is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.