Last spring when I lost my sister, Lori, to cancer, I was made aware of the huge impact she had made on the people around her. The outpouring of love and grief I saw and felt from her students, her colleagues, her friends and her church members touched my soul. I listened as literally dozens of her students and fellow teachers told of the impact she’d had on their lives, and realized that the ripples of love and support that started with her will be never-ending. So, as the days passed and the immediate loss eased in my life, I knew I wanted to do something that would honor Lori in a real and perpetual way, the way that she had lived.
So now, in time for her birthday, I introduce the Lori Sturgess Marigold Scholarship for the Rocky Mountain Journalism Camp, where Lori attended each summer with a group of her students. This camp gives journalism students an opportunity to work on school publications guided by national and state recognized instructors in a team building, esteem building environment. Lori believed whole-heartedly in the benefit of this camp, and worked fiercely every year to ensure that her students would have the funds available to attend. She and her fellow instructors believe that this camp helped give their students the skills and confidence necessary to put together the award-winning yearbooks for V. Sue Cleveland High School, skills that will also enrich their college and career lives.
The goal is for this scholarship to provide one student per year the funds to attend the Rocky Mountain Journalism Camp. The camp currently charges $450 per student for attendance fees, which covers all tuition, room and board, materials, and additional camp activities. I would like to provide the awarded student with an additional $50 for transportation or other expenses. A base amount of $2500 will provide scholarships for five years. $10,000 would last for 20+ years, as that amount could start an interest-bearing money market account. I intend to provide the first year, and my hope is that Lori’s many family members, friends, students and colleagues will contribute to the future of the scholarship. I will work with the journalism staff at V. Sue Cleveland High School to select a student to receive the award, and will then share the information about that student with all contributors.
The reason for the name:
One of Lori’s colleagues at her school memorial related a story that described Lori to her. The story was presented as part of a teaching workshop, and to this colleague Lori was the embodiment of its philosophy. I agree, and it touched me so deeply that I now use the marigold to represent Lori to me, and it was the obvious name of a scholarship in her name. Here’s the story, as told by Jennifer Gonzalez:
THE MARIGOLD EFFECT
Many experienced gardeners follow a concept called companion planting: placing certain vegetables and plants near each other to improve growth for one or both plants. For example, rose growers plant garlic near their roses because it repels bugs and prevents fungal diseases. Among companion plants, the marigold is one of the best: It protects a wide variety of plants from pests and harmful weeds. If you plant a marigold beside most any garden vegetable, that vegetable will grow big and strong and healthy, protected and encouraged by its marigold.
Marigolds exist in our schools as well – encouraging, supporting and nurturing growing teachers on their way to maturity. If you can find at least one marigold in your school and stay close to them, you will grow. Find more than one and you will positively thrive.
Lori’s colleague, Cari Davis, said this about the marigold story and Lori:
“Of course I immediately thought of Lori. She was everyone’s marigold. She took each of us under her wing. She protected us from negativity and discontent. She was tough and hardy, and she helped each of us grow big and strong.
One of the things Lori loved most about teaching, was to hear about her student’s successes after leaving high school. She loved to hear about new jobs, weddings, college degrees, and babies. She wanted to know how her students were doing and was genuinely interested and concerned with what you all were doing. I am certain that Lori would give the same advice to each of you as you go off to college, in your first jobs, and your careers; find marigolds. Surround yourself with people who help repel negativity, people who help you grow big and strong. Find people who are positive and hardy and who help make others better.
More than anything however, not only would she advise you to find marigolds, but she would tell us all, to BE marigolds.”
Lori was a marigold, to me, to her family, to her colleagues, and to hundreds of students. Please join me in planting marigolds by way of a scholarship in Lori’s name. I will work with the teachers and administrators at V. Sue Cleveland HS to select an recepient student each year, and will send a payment for that student directly to the camp. The registration payment is needed in the spring of each year for summer attendance. I will also keep a database of contributors and keep each of you updated on the students selected.
To learn more about the Rocky Mountain Journalism Camp visit https://www.rmjournalism.com/
- Linda & Ami & Joshua Higgins
- Celia Miller
- Sharon Goshorn
- Julia Henss
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