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Kathy Gustad

October 04, 2012

When everyone else in the family walked away with bruises, Sidney didn’t walk away at all. She was taken by ambulance to the small local hospital and then by helicopter to Primary Children’s in Salt Lake City. What started out as a family road-trip to Utah and then to Oregon, ended with the loss of a beautiful 12-year old girl.

My family has cried with Sidney’s family. We have laughed and grieved with them, but we know that we can never understand what it is like to wake up each morning and be them. We know that no amount of good can ease the pain of Sidney’s death; no amount of good can change what happened that day.

But maybe there is something that can be done to remember the goodness of a 12-year old girl. A small gesture to remind everyone of the young woman that Sidney was.

This year Sidney would be a junior in high school. She would be a junior at my high school. Chances are I would have been her English teacher, but at the very least, I would have watched as Sidney’s beautiful smile brightened the hallway. That is who she was, a young woman who always spread joy to everyone around her.

As I prepared my seniors for graduation last May, my thoughts were drawn to Sidney. I felt the Spirit so strong in the idea that was taking root. What if there was a way to let Sidney be a part of her graduating class: The Brighton High School Class of 2014? What if there was a way to let her goodness be a gift to one of her classmates?

I decided that I wanted to help bring some hope to the tragedy that was Sidney’s death.

As a high school teacher, I see many students who need help paying for college and many more who end up not going because they simply cannot afford tuition or books. There are many types of scholarships available, but one type in particular is lacking. There is very little scholarship money for any student who wishes to pursue an art degree. This is exactly the type of scholarship that Sidney herself would have pursued.

The plan began with an idea: The Sidney Weber Memorial Scholarship. Sidney was an artist, she painted, she baked, she sculpted, and she created.

Before getting too excited, Sidney’s parents needed to be on board with the scholarship in memory of their oldest daughter. They are. They love the idea of one of Sidney’s classmates being able to go to college with a scholarship bearing Sidney’s name. They love the idea of the scholarship going to an extremely under-funded discipline: the arts. Perhaps most importantly, they love the idea of presenting the scholarship to a classmate of their beautiful daughter. They love the idea of Sidney being a part of her graduating class. Their only request was that this scholarship go to a student who intends to attend college to pursue a type of art degree.

My promise to them was that I would organize, create, and manage the scholarship. They would choose the selection committee and present the scholarship to the winning candidate. That is just the beginning of the good that will come from this idea.

The process is far from complete. There are accounts to create, criteria to establish, and fundraisers to be done. The first of those will be done by the end of the year. The last, and most critical aspect, the fundraising, will happen between now and May 2014.

There is a need to seek good in the world, and there is also the need to remember those who have already done good in this world. Sidney Weber was one of those truly good people who brought goodness everywhere she went. She may have been young when she left this life to do the work that Heavenly Father called her home to complete, but the good she left in this life can live past her. My hope is that this scholarship will continue on after her graduating class, bringing not only hope, but the opportunity for others to pursue their own artistic dream.

For more information about the Sidney Weber Memorial Scholarship, please email: sidneywebermemorialscholarship@gmail.com