Typical scholarships offer money toward college tuition for those seeking higher education within the walls or a university or college But, if there was one thing Marissa Hayward believed in, it was that the greatest life lessons were learned outside the classroom.
“She loved a great adventure and understood learning was so much more than classrooms and textbooks,” said her mother, Susan Hayward.
Known for her fiery spirit and energetic personality, Marissa Hayward’s life was cut short at the age of 21 years old after a car accident in October 2010. Since then, family and friends have worked to keep the 2007 North Kingstown High School alum’s memory and energy alive.
The newest incarnation of the effort is a scholarship fund created in Marissa’s name. According to her mother, Marissa lived and worked in Wyoming for three summers and hiked the Tetons. She dreamt of surfing in Australia, practicing yoga on the beach in Costa Rica, living in Africa and traveling the world. Always seeking an adventure, Marissa’s parents felt her scholarship should do the same.
Unlike your average scholarship, this $1,500 scholarship is geared toward a student who “has a love of life, a keen interest in adventure, a dream they with to pursue and an idea for a hands-on learning experience.”
“Our intention is to carry forward Marissa’s vibrant spirit through celebrating her philosophy of life and supporting another young adult to believe in themselves; pursue their dreams, understand the value of this moment, their impact on others and the beauty of their life right now,” said Susan Hayward.
Last June, the NK5K provided funds to give a scholarship in Marissa’s name. Held in September, last year’s race drew a record crowd, due largely in part to Team Marissa. The team was created by a group of Marissa’s close friends who gathered more than 100 people to run in memory of their friend – who was an avid runner. – donning white T-shirts designed by one of Marissa’s friends.
The deadline for the application is May 15. Contact the North Kingstown High School Guidance Department for more information at 401-268-6240.