Thursday, May 18, 2017.  John presenting after mass to school and parents.  Excerpts of the speech shown here.

John Speaking at Nazareth

To honor Kelli’s memory, we award college scholarships to graduating seniors whose work and character reflect Kelli’s spirit.

Kelli played tennis for LT, so we ask the recipient to play a sport for 3 out of 4 years.  She was a solid student, so we ask the recipient to have a 3 out of 4 unweighted GPA.  Kelli was kind and compassionate and loved to help others.  So we ask the recipient to write an essay on how they helped others.

Kelli’s smile was infectious, and today, her spirit of optimism, kindness, and dedication remains, in that it lives on in people who share JOY with others and the world around them.

One member of the Nazareth Academy class of  2017 has been selected to receive the KJO Memorial Scholarship.  A $1500 annual scholarship renewable for four years, a $6,000 value in total.

Our recipient played two sports during high school.  Their application also showed a 12-year commitment to Irish dancing, and many community service projects here at Naz and in the community.  They started a senior class fundraising effort for Syrian refugees who were new to America.

The selection committee particularly appreciated this person commitment to the Smile program, how they wrote about their experiences with this program and how it changed them.

Now I’m reading from their essay:

“You are my favorite honey, honey!” Aggie calls everyone honey, but always reminds me how special I am. I met Aggie through SMILE club at my school. SMILE stands for students mingling in the lives of the elderly. She was my “adopt-a-grandma”. She lives in a home for the elderly and needs a walker, but always is the life of the party. Aggie cares for me and everyone she meets. The first time we met, I was kind of nervous to talk to an elderly person. She immediately put me at ease and cracked a joke. Her actions inspired me to reflect on what caring and compassion truly is.

Finally, this from their application that talks about community:
“The Kelli Joy Scholarship means a great deal to me. Her passing had a great impact on our community. Before, I never knew any of my neighbors, and it felt like we were living on a little island. Then, things changed. When our community came out to line the streets on the day of her funeral, I held hands with my neighbors. When we came together to celebrate Kelli’s life and let balloons go, I finally understood what community means. Every birthday celebration at the park brought the community closer together. I want to apply for this scholarship in Kelli’s name to spread joy, share smiles, and create happiness.”
The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation Scholarship recipient from Nazareth Academy who reflects Kelli’s spirit of both doing good and doing well is Bridget Brodlo.

Bridgit’s Mom, Bridgit, and John