I remember when we met with the development officer from OBU to discuss the establishment of the scholarship. Hannah had only been gone for a couple of months, and I was feeling very raw and fragile. I couldn't believe we were talking to this guy about setting up a scholarship in her memory, rather than talking to an admissions counselor about what kind of scholarship she might be receiving. But, after an hour or so of discussion, we came up with some guidelines for who would be eligible to receive the scholarship.
It could be a male or female student who is a rising junior or senior (to insure that they were serious about college and going to finish), and who is majoring in the field of medicine or education. We understood that we would have no say in who would receive the scholarship ... the recipient would be chosen by a scholarship committee at OBU.
We've been very pleased with each student that the committee has chosen over the past three years. We've had the opportunity to meet each of the recipients and it's been more of a blessing than I would ever have imagined. Each of these young ladies has been a fine Christian young woman who is definitely going to be used by God in her chosen field.
But the last time I sent in our check, I just couldn't help making a suggestion to the scholarship committee. I included a letter, saying that even though I knew we had no say in who received the scholarship, I did want to put forth a name for the committee's consideration. I pointed out that this student was a rising junior, and that she was a speech pathology major, which put her into both the medicine and education categories. As I closed my letter, I reiterated that we were not attempting to influence the committee's decision in any way, we were simply asking them to consider one particular student along with any others who were being considered.
That student was Brittany Nolan, who has been Hannah's dearest friend since second grade. Brittany is the girl who would have been Hannah's roommate at OBU if Hannah had not "graduated early." They met when we moved to El Dorado, and remained close friends even after we moved to Cabot and then Magnet Cove. In this day of texting and email, they actually wrote letters to each other, and when I cleaned out Hannah's bedside table, it was full of letters from Brittany. They have always had a very special friendship, and our family's friendship with her has continued over the last few years. This picture was probably from about second or third grade...
And this was probably the summer after their freshman year of high school...
Well, last week we got the word that Brittany had indeed been chosen as the recipient of the Hannah Joy Sullivan Memorial Scholarship. Brad had the great joy of presenting it to her at the OBU scholarship banquet last Thursday evening (I was speaking at a ladies' ministry dinner, so was unable to attend, which also explains why there was no picture taken of the presentation!). It was a complete surprise for her, so that made it even more fun. We are so pleased that she was chosen, and I know Hannah would have been thrilled. And, though it's bittersweet in many ways, I'm so glad that our friendship with her has continued even though Hannah's earthly life has ended. We are blessed to have her as part of our lives!