Just days after losing their daughter in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Jimmy Greene and his wife Nelba Marquez-Greene came to Western Connecticut State University officials with an idea.
They wanted to honor their daughter's memory with a music scholarship.
"Ana’s love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk," they said. "In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere — her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship."
Six months later, the scholarship fund has raised $75,000, and WCSU officials say they're preparing to award the first recipient with a $10,000 scholarship -- that's $2,500 for four years. After that, awards will come from a portion of the interest income from the endowed amount of the fund, said the university.
"We received gifts of a few dollars from individuals to thousands of dollars raised by groups of people, and the fund has quickly grown to the point where we can award a substantial scholarship each year," said WCSU president James Schmotter. "This doesn’t make the losses of Dec. 14 any easier to bear, but the support from friends and strangers alike is an indication of the love of humanity that exists in this country. That will help us all affirm life in the aftermath of last year’s horrific events."
University officials say they will announce the first recipient in the fall.