News Details

Header Image

Students Raise Money For Memorial Scholarship



Date: 2021/02/09

$3,000 given in honor of Rams’ champion diver Christopher Jackson.

PANAMA CITY — It all started with some change.

Literal change — dimes, nickels, the occasional dollar — was brought in by children enrolled in Bay District Schools’ After School Assistance Program (ASAP) to help board member Cherri Boyle’s family after her son, Christopher Jackson, died in March.

Jackson was a 2013 Rutherford High School graduate and a diving star, winning the Class 2A state meet his senior year. He wanted to dive for the Navy and attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as Gulf Coast State College and Asheville-Buncombe Community College. Those plans were canceled by his death in March in Asheville, N.C. He was 21.

Terri Gainer, a leader at ASAP, said the children wanted to do something special for Boyle, who often worked with them after school. So they started bringing in their change, amassing about $45 in a few days, until Gainer put their plans on Facebook and their efforts took off.

“We put it on Facebook and everyone started matching it,” she said. “The kids even brought in about $200 themselves.”

As a culmination of their efforts, ASAP students and leaders presented the Bay Education Foundation with a $3,000 check Tuesday to start the Christopher Jackson Memorial Scholarship in Jackson’s honor. According to Janet Kessler, who will lead the foundation as its new executive director, the money will be held by the Bay Education Foundation and distributed to graduating seniors by next year.

“We’re going to come up with how we’re going to spread the money around to as many kids as we can in Christopher’s honor,” she said.

Boyle thanked the students for their contributions and giving what little extra money they had to the scholarship, saying their efforts made her feel “unbelievably fantastic.” The scholarship, she said, will be a great way to keep Jackson’s memory alive.

“When you can give a student a check in your son’s name every year and every year you get to say his name out loud and talk about him, it’s a great day,” she said. 

View original News article here. After School Students Raise Money