We were blown away by the people who came out for Shayna’s memorial service, but even more so by the people who said “We will not forget Shayna”. Since then people have been finding ways to commemorate her to keep her in their hearts. Ty, Kayla and I know she will always be in ours. Lisa Lorenz, the mother of one of Shayna’s friends, wanted to set up a scholarship fund in Shayna’s name. She has made that happen, getting a 501c3 status, raising several thousand dollars and setting up a board to manage the scholarship. In a couple of months we have raised enough money to fund the scholarship for at least four years. We have set the criteria to choose someone who, like Shayna has a good GPA, but is also involved in the community and who wants to study the sciences in college. Our good friends Chuck and Deb wanted to get involved when they heard about the scholarship and they set up the fundraiser which is tonight.
Today I meet with some people who have called me to talk to me about considering running for political office. I’m deeply involved in politics, but purely from a lay perspective. I have never run for anything and, like The Donald, I’m not politically correct. However, being rude and having no experience is not something the Democratic party is looking for and I’m pretty sure at this point in my life I’ve blown my cover and can’t run as a Republican. I’m thinking about it. I’d like to serve, but I’m not sure it’s within the realm of possibility for me. We shall see.
After lunch, I’m nervous thinking about the fundraiser. I’ve described myself as an introvert all my life, but I really do like people. How will I react? What will people want from me? Will I be able to get out of the room if it becomes overwhelming? My good friend Bill texts me and tells me he will be there for me for anything I need. Chuck and Deb both message me. They assure me nothing is expected from me. I don’t even have to show up. But, I do have to show up. This isn’t just for me and Ty. This is for the community. I am filled with pride and gratitude to overflowing that my Shayna touched so many people in such a profound way. Ticket sales for the event have been great. I don’t know the final number yet, but I believe 75 tickets were sold. Three different musical groups have volunteered to perform.. One is Shayna’s homeschool art teacher and swim teacher. One is one of Shayna’s best friends from the high school and, of course, Chuck and Deb. Everything is handled for us. Lisa told us we wouldn’t have to do anything for this scholarship fund and outside of providing some guidance, we really haven’t done much. This is a true community effort.
Ty and I enter the room about half an hour before the scheduled start. Everything is set up. Several friends are already there. The evening goes off without a hitch. The room is completely full, not so full that you can’t move, but full enough to be full of energy. People are sharing stories about Shayna. Just thinking about it now brings a tear to my eye. I truly hope that Shayna is here tonight and I believe she is.
Bill comes up to check on me. He knows I can be uncomfortable in crowds and offers to step outside with me, but I’m doing all right. A father who lost his son two years ago stops by toward the end of the evening. His daughter is on the West Volleyball team. I’ve never met him, but he walks right over to me, tells me his story and says any time I want to talk, he will be there to listen.
You hear about the bad in people, the selfishness, the jealousy, the pettiness. But, keep in mind that people are good. People can be absolutely amazing and our friends are.
Being around Shayna’s friends is always bittersweet. Shayna had made some really, really great friends at West and in the neighborhood. A couple of her teachers showed up. Shayna and her friend Caroline both planned to go to OSU. We’re going to miss those girls and the next three years we thought we had being part of that community. But, to know how much of an impact she made on their lives in such a short time is comforting. At least for the next three years when the scholarship is announced and her names is called, someone will remember Shayna and how wonderful she was because they were in class with her. That is another way Shayna will continue to grow here where she was planted.