By Jill Fox
In memory of Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims, The Parkland Basketball Club wanted to do something to honor league participants, Joaquin Oliver, Luke Hoyer and Alex Schachter.
Last year, the Parkland Basketball Club created three scholarships in their names for high school seniors participating in the Club. Kevin Sirop, president of the Parkland Basketball Club explained the board members wanted to do something in memory and in honor of the three boys which would recur every year, and they agreed a scholarship would be a good way to carry on their names.
This will be the second year the Joaquin Oliver Leadership Award, the Luke Hoyer Sportsmanship Award and the Alex Schachter Community Assist Award are distributed. Each $2,000 scholarship was established to reflect the characteristics of the three individuals whose lives were stolen.
“Joaquin showed a lot of leadership skills, Alex was very team-oriented, and Luke was always a good sport,” said Sirop, whose 16-year-old son grew up with two of the boys.
Joaquin’s mother, Patricia said that the Parkland Basketball Club is a great example to follow, and she is honored that they are using this initiative to help other kids that are passionate about the sport.
As far as Joaquin’s leadership skills, she said, “He was always a leader. He handled every situation in a way that was an example for other children, guiding his friends, especially in sports.”
To apply for the second annual scholarship awards, students must submit an application along with a brief 1,500-word essay reflecting on their accomplishments in school, the Parkland Basketball Club, the community, and how they have impacted their lives and the lives of others.
“I think the scholarships are amazing. They want to keep Alex’s memory alive, and I thank them for that,” said Max Schachter, father of Alex.
Schachter said Alex really looked forward to playing basketball every year. It taught him a lot about teamwork. He loved to play defense and he won a many championships.
Applicants will be selected on separate criteria for each $2,000 award. The club’s Board of Directors will select two finalists for each one, and the selection committee will interview each finalist and select the recipient of each scholarship.
Luke’s mother, Gena said that her family was very touched when the Parkland Basketball Recreation League chose to honor Luke in such a special way.
“Luke met so many of his incredible friends and coaches through basketball and they have been so supportive to our family since the tragedy,” she said.
All interested high school seniors must submit their applications by March 3, 2019. The applications should include two letters of recommendation from anyone other than a family member and an official copy of their school transcript.
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.