Scholarship 2

Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship

Recipients and presentations
2016
Somerville High School

2016

Somerville High School; May 25, 2016

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family, I am pleased to present the ​ninth (​9​th) annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris’ have asked me to read a short congratulatory statement this evening.
​In two days it will be nine (9) years since Paul Farris was killed on the streets of Somerville. A criminal, fleeing from police, slammed into the taxi in which Paul and his girlfriend Kate were riding. Paul and the taxi driver were killed and Kate’s severe injuries took many years from which to recover. ​Paul was only 23 years old when he died.​
Our family presents these scholarships as a way to remember Paul and as a thank-you to the caring Somerville community who supported us during very dark times. You can learn more about Paul at www.​P​aul​F​arris.org​ and Pursuit For Change at www.PursuitForChange.org
​In the fall of 2002 Paul began his college experience at Tufts University. He was truly excited for this next journey in his life, as I’m sure are each of the students here tonight. And what a journey it was. He worked hard. He played hard. And he graduated in four years. For you and your parents, I wish you the same positive experience!
For 201​6 we ​once ​again had many ​awesome ​students apply for the scholarships. ​And​ yet again, choosing ​only ​two​ was​ difficult. ​ ​This year we are proud to present the 201​6 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarships to ​Anmoi Saini and ​Brianna Williams.
Anmoi​ shares his love of learning with sports. ​He is a National Honor Society member in math, science and Spanish. He is the only candidate, in our nine years of scholarship applications, to express an intense passion for engineering and an awesome “change the world” attitude. On the sports side of the equation, he was and is involved in tennis, soccer and ultimate frisbee. Way to go, Anmoi.
Throughout ​much of ​her ​life Brianna ​​over​came challenges which ​w​ould have caused​ others to quit or give up. But ​she made a conscious effort to push the adversity back and move forward with a positive attitude and great passion. This isn’t as simple as it might seem, but the ability to overcome adversity is an important character trait.  Brianna is a National Honor Society member in French and a STEM Grit award​ recipient​. She is also passionate about her music and is a member of chorus, choir and a cappella. Well done, Brianna.
​The Farris family wants to ​remind ​each of you here tonight that life is ​incredibly precious​; but ​life can be taken away in ​one single heartbeat, as was Paul’s. ​​
So live your live​ to the fullest, be passionate in ​everything that you do, ​and ​be​ a positive influence in the lives of those around you.​ ​
Congratulations to Anmoi, Brianna and all of tonight’s scholarship and award recipients.

2015

2015 Somerville High School; May 2015

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family, I am pleased to present the eighth (8th) annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris’ have asked me to read a short congratulatory statement this evening.
May 27, 2015 is eight years since Paul Farris, an innocent victim, was killed on the streets of Somerville. A criminal, fleeing from police, slammed into the taxi in which Paul and his girlfriend Kate were riding. Paul and the taxi driver were killed and Kate’s severe injuries took many years from which to recover. Our family presents these scholarships as a way to remember Paul and as a thank-you to the caring Somerville community who supported us during very dark times. You can learn more about Paul at www.paulfarris.org.
In one way or another, all children are special. Each of our kids have unique traits or skills that help to define who they are now and who they will become in the future. Our Paul never had a chance to fulfill that future, but each of you in attendance here this evening do. We encourage you to go out and make a new friend; lend a helping hand to a neighbor or acquaintance; find a way to serve your community; but most of all, simply be a good and kind person.
For 2015 we once again had many worthy candidates. Choosing two for the scholarship was a very difficult task. We selected individuals who displayed drive, creativity, and a passion that helped to define who they are. This year we are proud to present the 2015 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarships to Diana Dominguez and Maxwell Freitas.
Throughout her Somerville High School Diana overcame challenges which could have easily caused her to quit or give up. But instead of doing that, she discovered a passion to help friends, acquaintances and schoolmates understand that facing adversity and continuing their education is a necessity. Too many people simply worry about themselves, and are not willing to use their experiences in service to others. Diana recognizes that she can help and that she can truly make a difference in others’ lives.
Maxwell Freitas (brother of Mitchell Freitas, a 2011 Paul Farris Memorial Somerville recipient), has had an amazing high school career and is now ready to jump into college life. Maxwell’s resume focuses not just on his truly outstanding academic achievements, but also on his caring heart and exemplary community involvement. Maxwell knows he has and he will make a difference in this world, and we concur.
Once again we want to remind each of the parents and students here tonight, that life is so very precious, but it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. So live your lives to the fullest, be passionate in everything that you do and do whatever you can to make this a better world.
On behalf of the Farris family, thank you and congratulations to all of tonight’s scholarship recipients.

2014

2014 Edina High School; May 2014

We want to express our heartfelt thanks to Peter Ellingboe, Paul’s very dear friend, for presenting at this year’s Edina Scholarship breakfast.

This was Jon’s planned presentation (we’ll update with Peter’s comments when received):
Today marks the Farris Family’s seventh year awarding Paul Farris Memorial Scholarships at Edina High School. May 27th is seven years since Paul was killed. Paul was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can learn much more at our website, www.paulfarris.org.
Every parent thinks their kids are very special. We certainly think that Paul was. He lived his too-short life being a caring individual, befriending as many people as he possibly could and remaining passionate about learning and about his music. So we based our scholarship on these traits.
For 2014 we had many amazing students present scholarship applications. As in previous years, deciding who the recipients would be was very difficult. But a decision had to be made, so we’re here this morning to congratulate Cristina Ballarini and Alexander Layton.
Cristina and Alex told us their stories. They took us on a journey, showed us how they have been great students and terrific citizens, and still maintained their specific passions of music and theater respectively.
Cristina is a talented violinist who effortlessly plays classical music but whose whose musical taste ranges from that classical to rock and electronic. Cristina, who plays violin at a Minneapolis dementia group home, stated: “I never quite realized the power of music until I saw women who couldn’t remember the names of their friends remember every word to songs from their childhood.”
Alex’s passion revolves around theater. He is an actor. He is a theater crew member. He is definitely passionate about his trade and art. How could you not love an application that started out with the words, “Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. The drum sets the rhythm for the song, for the scene, for the whole show.” We also appreciated his comment that, “Each crisis is problem solving at it’s finest.” Alex also commented on kindness and respect by stating, “ I firmly believe that no matter the circumstances, respecting those around you always improves the situation.” Alex may be wise beyond his years.
Let me finish today, by asking each of the students here to give their parents a big hug and each of the parents to hug your very special student. Life is precious and it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Live life to the fullest and be passionate in all that you do, just like Cristina and Alex.

Thanks.

Somerville High School; May 2014

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family who were unable to make tonight’s awards ceremony, I am pleased to present the seventh annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarships at Somerville High School. The Farris’ have asked me to read a short statement tonight.
“May 27th will be seven years since our son Paul was killed on the streets of Somerville. Paul was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can learn much more at our website, www.paulfarris.org Every parent thinks their kids are very special. We certainly think that Paul was. He lived his too-short life being a caring individual, befriending as many people as he possibly could and remaining passionate about learning and about his music. So we based our scholarship on these traits.
For 2014 we had many amazing Somerville students present scholarship applications. As in previous years, deciding who the recipients would be was incredibly difficult. But a decision had to be made, so we’re proud to congratulate Kellie Hagerty and Caitlin Lewis.
Kellie and Caitlin told us their stories. They took us on a journey, showed us how they have been great students and terrific citizens, and still maintained their specific passions of community service and theater respectively.
Kellie isn’t an artist or musician, but she is a very passionate friend and buddy. A Best Buddy to be precise. SHS participates in a terrific program called Best Buddies. Since 1995, Best Buddies High Schools has paired students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one friendships with high school students. Kellie has been active since her sophomore year. I think Kellie says it all with her statement, “I entered the club being passionate about changing lives, but my life was the one changed. I have made wonderful friends and developed a greater appreciation for life.” Way to go, Kellie!
Caitlin is one of two theater stage managers applying for and receiving a scholarship this year. The second was at Edina High School in Minnesota. Caitlin has been involved with drama club and school musical throughout her four years in high school. She will carry her passion into college and, hopefully, professionally after college. Caitlin is a terrific student who, in addition to theater, is an active Girl Scout, tutor, community service club member and much more. Awesome!
In conclusion, let me remind each of the parents and students here tonight, that life is precious and it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Live life to the fullest and be passionate in all that you do, just like Kellie and Caitlin.”
On behalf of the Farris family, thank you, good night and congratulations to all of tonight’s scholarship recipients.

2013

2013 Edina High School; May 2013

We want to express our gratitude and love to Jeanne Sumnicht for presenting at this year’s Edina Scholarship breakfast.

Good morning,

My name is Jeanne Sumnicht. I am a retired Edina teacher, and I taught Paul Farris in my classroom for first, second and third grade. I am so honored that Jon and Roberta asked me to do this presentation in honor of their son this morning.

An elementary classroom is a very unique space, with much instruction occurring knee to knee and face to face. As a teacher you develop a very special relationship with your students. They not only enter your classroom, they enter your heart. Paul was a very special student, and I treasure the memories I have of him in my classroom.

This year the Farris’ are presenting four $1,000 scholarships – two in Edina and two in Somerville, Massachusetts. The 2013 Edina recipients are Nathan Kuhlman and Rachel Thompson.

These scholarships are presented in honor of the Farris’ oldest son Paul, who was an innocent victim, killed six years ago in an unnecessary Boston suburb police pursuit. The Farris’ have modeled their scholarship on several of Paul’s character traits – specifically respect, caring, love of learning and a passion for music and the arts. There is one more trait which I (Jeanne) must add – JOY. Paul brought joy everywhere he went. He had a laugh – a deep chuckle really – that started slowly and then filled the room. Paul’s laugh remains with me as something very special, a laugh that made others laugh along with him.

To position this morning’s comments we start with a quote from the artist and writer Kahlil Gibran. He said, ‘Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.’

Paul Farris had a terrific attitude and was able to find the best in people and situations. He was truly passionate and excited about life and lived each day to the fullest. We think Nathan and Rachel display unique characteristics, too. One having a passion for music and the other a passion for dance.

The first recipient, Nathan Kuhlman said, ‘I have been involved in music my entire life. In my family music is ingrained in almost everything we do. My mom is a music teacher and my parents met singing together in a semi-professional group. Music energizes me and makes me extremely happy.’
Nathan also shared several delightful and insightful stories about his many volunteer experiences, especially while traveling across the United States. One which particularly hit home was of a special bond with a six-year old named Elijah. We’ll let Nathan tell you the whole adventure, but he ended the story with, ‘While these were huge steps for Elijah, this was also a very meaningful experience for me. The way Elijah opened up and responded to me was something that I had never experienced before.’

Our second recipient is Rachel Thompson. In addition to being an outstanding student, Rachel is a ballerina who dances at the Minnesota Dance Theater up to 16 hours a week. How can you not love a young lady who writes,’Though my toes have become gnarled and muscular, I love the elegance and fluidity of dancing en Pointe.’ Rachel also commented, ‘I have dedicated my life to my art form as Paul did to his, and I hope that my love for ballet can help to carry on Paul’s memory.’
A National Merit AP Scholar, Rachel volunteers and tutors students in Mr. Simpson’s AP History class (Brian Simpson, like Jeanne Sumnicht, was one of Paul’s all-time favorite teachers!). Rachel also volunteers at EHS’s Writer’s Block and at EHS’s AVID math.

Rachel said, ‘My friends view me as an incredibly driven individual who isn’t afraid to take charge…’ She ended her essay with the following words. ‘Paul’s life ended much too soon, yet he will always be remembered because he cared deeply for his life, his music and those around him. I can only hope to emulate his passion in my ballet, my schoolwork and my relationships.’

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Thank you and congratulations to Nathan and Rachel for your caring and passion. We know that as you continue to nurture these traits, you will each have many successes and a lifetime of wonderful friendships.

Somerville High School; May 2013

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family, who were unable to make tonight’s awards ceremony, I am very pleased to present the sixth annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris family has asked me to read their presentation remarks for them.
This year the Farris’ are presenting four $1,000 scholarships – two at Somerville High School and two at Edina High School in Minnesota. The 2013 Somerville recipients are Andre Fernandes and Christina (Hae-Young) Joo.
“We present these scholarships in honor of our son Paul, who was an innocent victim, killed six years ago in an unnecessary police pursuit ending in Somerville. We modeled our scholarship on several of Paul’s character traits – specifically respect, caring, love of learning and a passion for music and the arts.
To position this evening’s comments we start with a quote from the artist and writer Kahlil Gibran. He said, ‘Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.’
Our first recipient, Andre Fernandes, is young man who loves the culinary arts and who has a very lofty life goal. Simply stated, he said “I plan to use my education to end world hunger.” Obviously Andre has the right attitude.
Andre also jokingly commented, “I think I started cooking to get away from my mom’s cooking!” Obviously if he’s willing to put that on paper, he’s a very brave fellow indeed. Andre also said, “If you asked my friends to describe me, they would tell you I’m the calmest person you will ever meet.” This, too, is a wonderful trait, which when combined with a positive attitude will take Andre very far.
Our second recipient, Christina Joo, a National Honors student said, “I am aiming for a career where I bring people and technology together and make their lives easier.” This is also a lofty goal and we’re sure Christina will succeed. In addition to her focus on science, Christina is an artist. In her scholarship application she stated, “Art has been, and always will be, my special outlet. The moment I could properly hold a pencil was the moment that art became a part of my life.” And through her narrative, Christina took us on a journey describing art as her passion.
Christina’s application had several other important comments. First she said, ‘If there is one thing that my parents have stressed as they raised me, it is respect.’ And then she related, ‘My friends would say that I’m a ‘contagiously positive’ person.’ Christina’s winning combination of being a respectful individual with a great attitude will help to take her wherever in life she chooses.
So congratulations to Andre and Christina. You both know that only you can control how you live life and how you treat those around you. And you’ve both taken a giant step in making this world a better place to live in. Paul Farris was that kind of person – an individual who did his very best to make a positive difference in this world, and we know he would see those traits in each of you.
On behalf the Farris family, thank you, good night and congratulations to Andre, Christina and all of tonight’s other scholarship recipients.

2012

2012 Edina High School; May 2012

Good morning.

I am Jonathan Farris. Today my family continues a tradition of awarding scholarships in the name of our son, Paul Farris. For the past several years we have been unable to attend the EHS award breakfast, so we’re pleased to be here today.
This Sunday, May 27th, is the fifth anniversary of Paul’s unnecessary death on a quiet Somerville, Massachusetts street. Paul was 23 years old. Beginning in 2008 our family has awarded scholarships to deserving Edina High School and Somerville High School Seniors.
None of us knows for sure where we’ll be next month, next year, or the next decade. But we truly can control how we live life today, how we treat others around us, and what we will try to do to make this world a better place. Paul was that kind of individual – a caring person who wanted to make a difference. On our website, paulfarris.org, we have many videos. Some of the most meaningful are Paul’s friends reminiscing about what he meant to them. These videos make us cry, but they make us extremely proud. The speakers talk about Paul’s respect, caring, love of learning and passion for music.
We modeled our scholarship requirements on these traits. Each year the applicants tell us of their journeys and our choices get more difficult. This year’s Edina High School applicants once again embodied these traits.
For 2012 we are proud to present two scholarships, one to Alec Fischer and one to Keagan Potts.
Music, passion, caring and a love of learning were unmistakable throughout the essays written by Alec and Keagan. They have balanced difficult classes and a myriad of other activities. They have volunteered their time to improve their community and to help others.
Keagan is a musician who is active in EHS bands and his own rock band, Silent Agency. He is an outstanding student, an athlete on the EHS track and football teams for four years and an individual who understands the importance of volunteering and giving back to his community and friends. Listening to songs on Keagan’s band website and his essay resonated with my family because Paul was so passionate about his music and his bands.
Alec is a singer in Concert Choir and Chamber Choir; he is an actor; he is a filmmaker; and he is an advocate for issues which need to be communicated and corrected. We personally watched Alec’s films, and his talent and passion are evident. Paul, like Alec, welcomed diverse perspectives and wasn’t afraid to express his opinions.
I know Paul would like Alec and Keagan because in many ways they have much in common. And I also know, in my heart, that Paul is pleased his scholarship will help Alec and Keagan nurture their passions and continue to be lifelong caring and respectful citizens.
So on behalf of Paul and my family, thank you and congratulations once again to Alec & Keagan.

Somerville High School; May 2012

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family who are unable to make tonight’s awards ceremony, I am extremely pleased to present the fifth annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris’s have asked us to read a statement from them.
“May 27, 2012 will be the fifth anniversary of Paul’s unnecessary death on a quiet Somerville street. Beginning in 2008, and every year since, our family has awarded a scholarship to one or more Somerville High School Seniors. For five years I’ve had an especially difficult time writing the scholarship comments, because focusing on the scholarship means I have to focus on the loss of our son. So perhaps it is especially fitting that we reflect, on this fifth anniversary, why the scholarship was established.
Stealing from last year’s comments, let me say again that none of us knows for sure where we’ll be next month, next year, or the next decade. But we truly can control how we live life today, how we treat others around us, and what we will try to do to make this world a better place to live in. Paul was that kind of individual – a person who wanted to make a difference. On our website, paulfarris.org, we have quite a few videos. Perhaps some of the most meaningful are from the memorial services held in Massachusetts and in Minnesota. Seven of Paul’s friends reminisce about Paul and what Paul meant to them. These videos make us cry, but they make us extremely proud as well. These are a few of the reasons why our family awards these scholarships
We modeled our scholarship requirements on several of Paul’s character traits – specifically respect, caring, love of learning and a passion for music or the arts. Each year the applicants tell us of their journeys and our scholarship choices get more difficult. This year’s Somerville applicants did not disappoint because they embodied these traits and they each had a wonderful story.
So after reading, re-reading and re-reading yet again, we are proud to present scholarships to both Pristine Mei and Norman Li. Music, passion, caring and a love of learning were unmistakable throughout the essays written by Pristine and Norman. Each of them has been able to balance difficult honors classes, band and orchestra performances and practice, and volunteer activities to help improve their community and the lives of others.
About his music, Norman commented in his application, “I consider music as one of my passions because for as long as I can remember, it has let me express myself. Both creatively and emotionally, music has always been there as an empty canvas. A jam session is always therapeutic, but music goes beyond that. To me, music is a way to communicate.”

About her Somerville community, Pristine said, “Somerville has been my home since I was born. And over the years, I realized how much the public school system and the city, in general, has helped. By providing me a comfortable and close knit community and exceptional place to go to school, the least I can do is give back to show how much I care for and respect Somerville. For these three years in high school so far, I am glad in having participated in volunteer activities because I personally feel ecstatic about improving my community after all it has done for me.”
I know that Paul would have liked our recipients, because in many ways all three of them had much in common. And somehow, I know Paul is happy that his scholarship will help Norman and Pristine nurture their music and continue to be lifelong caring and respectful citizens. Congratulations Pristine and Norman!”
On behalf Paul Farris’ family, thank you, good night and congratulations to each of tonight’s other scholarship recipients.

2011

Edina High School; May 2011

Good morning,

On behalf of the Farris family who were unable to make this morning’s award ceremony, I am extremely pleased to present the fourth annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Edina High School. Jon & Roberta Farris have asked me to read a statement for them.
“Every year, for the past four, we have been privileged to read and learn about many of Edina High School’s truly amazing students. What each of you has accomplished is nothing less than a tribute – to your talent, your desire and your passion for life. What you have accomplished is also a tribute to Edina’s wonderful teachers and staff, and we know they, too, are extremely proud of you.
This scholarship is given at Edina High School and also Somerville high school in Massachusetts, in memory of our son Paul, who was violently taken from us on the streets of Somerville in May 2007. A precious life, only 23 at the time, killed for no reason and without warning. You can learn much more about Paul at paulfarris.org.
None of us knows for sure where we’ll be next month, next year, or the next decade. But we can definitely control how we live life today, how we treat others around us, and what we will try to do to make this world a little bit better place to live in. Paul was that kind of person, and we are very proud of him.
Today we continue our tradition of awarding scholarships to students who are respectful, caring and who have exhibited a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or other extracurricular activities. Although the choices were once again very impressive, the 2011 Edina student we selected represents these qualities very well. It was difficult to narrow our choice down to one student, but Christina Robb presented a thoughtful, well written and motivating essay. Like so many of the applicants, Christina has given back to her school and to her community. Christina’s passion is in dance and it is clear to see that she is driven to achieve her dreams though focus, dedication, determination and effort.
Christina said in her application, ‘My life always has a theme song, it changes every day but there is a beat or tune in my head that my heart dances to even when my body is still…’ She also stated, ‘If I can help someone in even the smallest way to have a better day I will, even just to say hi or send a smile their way…’ We found this is interesting because Christina’s statements and sentiments reflect our son Paul’s passion and caring. Paul truly had a positive influence on many people, even if only for 23 years. We believe that Christina will also make meaningful contributions throughout her college studies and career. So congratulations to Christina – we are extremely pleased to present you with the 2011 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship.”
On behalf Paul Farris’ family, thank you and congratulations to each of today’s other scholarship recipients.

Somerville High School; May 2011

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family who were unable to make this evening’s awards ceremony, I am extremely pleased to present the fourth annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris’s have asked us to read a statement for them.
“Every year, for the past four, we have been privileged to read and learn about many of Somerville High School’s truly amazing students. What each of you has accomplished is nothing less than a tribute – to your talent, your desire and your passion for life. What you have accomplished is also a tribute to Somerville’s wonderful teachers and staff, and we know they are proud of you too.
This scholarship is given at Somerville, Massachusetts and Edina, Minnesota high schools, in memory of our son Paul, who was violently taken from us on the streets of Somerville in May 2007. A precious life, only 23 at the time, killed for no reason and without warning. You can learn much more about Paul at paulfarris.org.
None of us knows for sure where we’ll be next month, next year, or the next decade. But we can definitely control how we live life today, how we treat others around us, and what we will try to do to make this world a little bit better place to live in. Paul was that kind of person, and we are very proud of him.
Tonight we continue our tradition of awarding scholarships to students who are respectful, caring and who have exhibited a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or other extracurricular activities. Although the choices were impressive, the 2011 Somerville students we selected represent these qualities very well. It was difficult to narrow our choice down to one student, so similarly to a prior year we have elected to award two scholarships, one to Salvador Moises Zelayandia-Pineda and one to Mitchell Freitas.
Moises & Mitchell
Both Salvador and Mitchell presented thoughtful, well written and motivating essays. Like so many of the applicants, they have each given back to their school and to their community. They each have a passion, Salvador with music and Mitchell with film. It is clear to see that they are each driven to achieve their dreams though focus, dedication, determination and effort.
Salvador said in his application, ‘I cannot go without one week or one day without hearing or playing music’ and Mitchell commented, ‘I want to make change. To bring the world something never experienced before.’ This is interesting because these statements and sentiments reflect our son Paul’s passion and his desire to make a difference. Paul truly had a positive influence on many people, even if only for 23 years. We believe that Salvador and Mitchell will also make meaningful contributions throughout their college studies and their respective careers. So congratulations to Salvador Moises Zelayandia-Pineda and Mitchell Freitas – we are extremely pleased to present you with these 2011 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarships.”
On behalf Paul Farris’ family, thank you, good night and congratulations to each of tonight’s other scholarship recipients.

2010

Edina High School; May 2010

Good Morning,

On behalf of the Roberta and Jonathan Farris who were unable to make this morning’s awards ceremony, I am pleased to present the third annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Edina High School. They have asked me to read a statement on their behalf.
We are honored to support the Edina School District through this scholarship in the memory of our son and to carry on a legacy for him. This is the third year presenting the scholarship, now less than a week away from the third anniversary of Paul’s unnecessary and tragic death.
Roberta and I established these scholarships in Edina, where Paul grew up and where we lived for 20 years and also in Somerville, Massachusetts, the city where Paul went to college and where he ultimately died. These scholarships continue to be awarded to students who are respectful, caring and who have exhibited a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, and other extracurricular activities.
Paul loved his years at Edina High School. We have many wonderful memories of awesome teachers and mentors and of so many amazing concerts and shows. In 2002 Paul moved to the East. He was a Tufts’ University magna cum laude graduate and was working in Boston while preparing for law school. Paul strived to do his very best in all that he pursued, whether it was schoolwork, his band, his work or his play. His passions also had another quality – he tackled everything with a smile and with an absolute can-do attitude. And that is most what we look for in our scholarship recipient selection and what we found in Edina this year. We were pleased that most candidates spent time learning more about Paul at our website PaulFarris.org. We hope that everyone here today has a chance to visit our website and learn more.
For the second year we could not narrow our choice down to just one student, so we are presenting two scholarships in Edina. This year’s amazing recipients are Taylor Lentz and Liv Redpath. Taylor and Liv’s submissions were indeed impressive.
Liv and Taylor
Taylor, an AP Scholar, is heading off to Paul’s alma mater Tufts University to double major in computer science and music. She opened her application with the statement “If I had to thank three people for getting me where I am now they would be my mom, my sixth grade math teacher, and my high school counselor.” She plays piano & saxophone, is a section leader for Marching Band and Pep Band and plays first part alto saxophone in Concert Band. She is extensively involved with school and outside activities and has significant community involvement and volunteerism.

Liv will attend Harvard (after selecting that school over Julliard!) and continue her passion for classical music and opera. Liv had an equally amazing and fun resume, saying that “Everyone loves my name (pronounced Leev) for its versatile use in puns, such as “Let’s leave, Liv!” She is an extremely passionate musician who has sung with Project Opera at the Minnesota Opera, EHS’s Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Thespians, and the MN All-State Choir. And in case that isn’t enough, Liv also plays piano and trumpet.

We’d love to read Taylor and Liv’s scholarship applications this morning, but they are a combined thirteen (13) pages of single spaced, amazing accomplishments. Taylor and Liv each have wonderful talents and skills and will certainly excel wherever life takes them. We are pleased to have them as Edina High School’s 2010 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship recipients.

On behalf the Farris family, thank you and congratulations Taylor and Liv – please keep us updated on your many adventures and successes.

Somerville High School; May 2010

Good Evening,

On behalf of the Farris family who were unable to make this evening’s awards ceremony, we are extremely pleased to present the third annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. They have asked us to read a statement on their behalf.
“We are honored to support the Somerville School District through this scholarship in the memory of our son, Paul, who died in Somerville in May 2007, as an innocent victim of a high speed police chase.
In 2010 we are continuing two scholarships, one in Somerville and another in Edina, Minnesota where Paul grew up. These scholarships continue to be awarded to students who are respectful, caring and who have exhibited a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, and other extracurricular activities.
Paul moved to Boston in 2002. He was a Tufts’ University graduate and was working in the Boston area while preparing for law school. During these five years Paul lived in Somerville and Medford.
Paul was a passionate young man and he lived his life that way. He strived to do his very best in everything that he pursued, whether it was his schoolwork, his band, his work or his play. Paul’s passions also had another quality – he tackled everything with a smile and with an absolute can-do attitude. And that is what we look for in our scholarship recipient selection.
In 2010 we were given a large and amazing group of graduating students to select from. We were pleased, based upon the response to supplemental questions which we ask, that candidates spent time learning about Paul at our website www.PaulFarris.org. We hope everyone here tonight has a chance to visit our website and learn more about Paul.
It is clear that Somerville High School has many students who will head off to colleges and careers where they will indeed excel. We believe one of those students is Ritesh Adhikari, our 2010 scholarship recipient.
Ritesh’s application was modest, but also forceful. He is proud, yet also humble. Ritesh has great grades, volunteerism in and out of school and a growing passion for music. He has an amazingly clear vision of a future where his contributions will indeed make a difference – for his family, for his friends, and for the world in which he lives. We are very pleased to have Ritesh Adhikari as Somerville High School’s 2010 Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship recipient. Congratulations Ritesh and please stay in touch.”
One final note for tonight’s ceremony. The Farris’ are also pleased to announce that in addition to Ritesh’s scholarship, they have extended their scholarships for last year’s Somerville recipients, Huong Nguyen and Rebecca Wood-Spagnoli. They are proud of these young women’s college Freshman year results and are especially appreciative that they regularly contact the Farris’ with updates on their studies and activities.
On behalf Paul Farris’ family, thank you, good night and congratulations to each of tonight’s scholarship recipients.

2009

Edina High School; May 2009

Good morning,

We are very pleased to be at today’s scholarship breakfast, to see so many of our friends and to carry on with what we hope will be a legacy for our son through the Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Edina High School. This is our second year presenting this scholarship, now less than two weeks away from the second anniversary of Paul’s tragic death in Boston.
After Paul died we wanted to do something meaningful to honor his spirit and also do something that supports the community where he grew up. As a result, the Farris family has established scholarships here in Edina and also at Somerville High School, the city where Paul went to Tufts University and where he ultimately died. These scholarships are presented to individuals who are respectful and caring students and who have exhibited a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or another extracurricular activity.
When we received the applications for last year’s scholarships there really wasn’t much information to tell us about the candidates as individuals and citizens of the community. As a result, Roberta and I added a supplemental application for all candidates – first so they can learn about Paul and second so we can learn more about how they exhibit this passion for music or the arts and how they display that passion in their lives. Through our new website, paulfarris.org, the candidates can now see and hear Paul. And through the supplemental application questions they can weave a story about their plans and passions to help us with the selections.
This year’s submissions were truly marvelous. What an amazing group of talented and motivated young men and women graduating from Edina’s class of 2009. The scholarship decision process was incredibly difficult and although each submission was terrific, several stood out for us. So therein lay the dilemma – a virtual draw between two equally qualified candidates – but a single scholarship. So our simple solution for 2009 is to present two scholarships, one each for Anthony Matthes and Molly Russell.
Anthony will be attending the University of Minnesota and has been accepted into th prestigious Guthrie Theater BFA Program – truly an honor. Molly had narrowed her choices down to a couple of pretty amazing schools that you possibly have heard of – NYU and USC and after much deliberation, she decided she likes the Pacific Ocean better than the Atlantic, so off to California she’ll be going!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony and Molly exemplify the spirit that Paul Farris had – active in school and community, caring for friends and family and passionate about their art. We hope that both Anthony and Molly continue to live their lives with the exact same zeal and enthusiasm that Paul always did and we also sincerely hope that each of you keep in touch with Roberta and me to share your future successes.
So congratulations again to Anthony and Molly for being the dual 2009 recipients of the Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship. Never stop pursuing your passion – we know that’s what Paul expects from you.

Somerville High School; May 2009

Good evening,

On behalf of the Farris family who were unable to make this evening’s festivities, I am extremely pleased to present the second annual Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School. The Farris’ are honored to support the Somerville School District by honoring the memory of their son, Paul, who died tragically in Somerville just two years ago tonight, on May 27, 2007. The Farris’ have established two scholarships, one here in Somerville and another in Edina, Minnesota where Paul grew up and went to high school. These scholarships are presented to individuals who are respectful and caring students and who have exhibit a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or another extracurricular activity.
Although Paul was born and raised in the Midwest, much of his family lives in Massachusetts and Maine. Paul moved to Boston in 2002. He was a Tufts’ University graduate, working in the Boston area and preparing for law school. Paul had lived in both Medford and Somerville. Paul was a passionate young man and he lived his life that way. He always strived to do his very best in everything that he pursued, whether it was his schoolwork, his rock band, his work or his play. Paul’s passions also had another quality – he tackled everything with a smile and with an absolute can-do attitude.
2009 was the first year that the Farris’ asked the candidates to complete a supplemental application, with the intent to learn more about those students who were applying. The candidates were told that the Farris’ have started a website, www.PaulFarris.org, where they could learn more about Paul, see photographs, listen to his music and also learn about the family’s advocacy against high speed police pursuits. The Farris’ hope that everyone here tonight has a chance to go to the website to find out more about Paul.
The Farris’ were very impressed with the quality and depth of this year’s Somerville and Edina candidates and it turned out to be an extremely difficult decision process. It was so difficult that instead of awarding one scholarship each in Somerville and Edina, they are awarding two $2,000 scholarships at each of the high schools.
Rebecca Wood-Spagnoli’s and Huong Nguyen’s applications truly stood out. Both of these young women exemplify the spirit that Paul Farris had – active in school and community, caring for friends and family and passionate about their art. We truly hope that hope that Rebecca and Huong continue to live their lives with the same zeal and enthusiasm that Paul did and that they each demonstrated throughout high school. The Farris’ also sincerely hope that Rebecca and Huong keep in touch with them to share their future successes.
So congratulations again to Rebecca and Huong for being the 2009 recipients of the Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship. Never stop pursuing your passion – we know that’s what Paul would expect from you.
On behalf of the Farris family, thank you, good night and congratulations again to Rebecca, Huong and to all of tonight’s other scholarship recipients.

2008

Edina High School; May 2008

Good morning,

We are here this morning to present the first Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Edina High School.
First and foremost, this is a day to recognize some very special students graduating from Edina High School. As a family, we are honored to have an opportunity to support the Edina School District and in particular, student Preston Haining to whom our very first Scholarship is being presented.
Preston Haining photo

Music

When our family decided to establish these scholarships at Edina High School and also at Somerville High School, the city where Paul went to college and where he died, we tried to put a slightly different twist on the qualifications. Specifically we requested that “The candidate must be a respectful and caring student exhibiting a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or another extracurricular activity.”

That was our Paul and that’s how we’d like him to be remembered.

 

Preston Haining (trumpet)

Somerville High School; May 2008

Good evening,

My cousins the Farris’ have asked me to present the first Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship at Somerville High School tonight.
First and foremost, tonight is a night to recognize some very special students graduating from Somerville High School. As a family, we are honored to have an opportunity to support the Somerville School District and in particular, student William Henriksen to whom the first Paul Farris Memorial Scholarship is being presented.
When our family decided to establish scholarships at Paul’s high school in Minnesota and also here in Somerville, we tried to put a slightly different twist on the qualifications. Specifically we requested that “The candidate must be a respectful and caring student exhibiting a love of learning and a passion for music, the arts, or another extracurricular activity.”
That was our Paul and that’s how we’d like him to be remembered. We think that William represents those qualities. William has a very impressive resume – with terrific grades and a tremendous musical talent including violin, viola, guitar and vocals. Congratulations William!
The Farris’ wanted to do something meaningful to honor their son Paul’s memory. Paul was taken from us in a horrific and totally unnecessary car crash, when a MA State Trooper pursued an SUV onto the streets of Somerville. The SUV struck a cab in which Paul and his girlfriend Kate were riding. Paul and the taxi driver died, and Kate spent the first four tenuous months in the hospital and the last 8 months struggling to recover.
Although Paul was born and raised in the Midwest, much of his family lives in Massachusetts and Maine. Paul moved to Boston after high school in 2002. He was a Tufts’ University graduate. He was working in the Boston area and was preparing for law school. Paul was a passionate young man and he lived his life that way. He always strived to do his very best in everything that he pursued, whether it was his schoolwork, his rock band, his work or his play. Paul’s passions also had another quality – he tackled everything with a smile and with an absolute can-do attitude. We hope that each of you here will live your lives with this same zeal and enthusiasm.
So congratulations again to William Henriksen for being the first recipient of this scholarship. Never stop pursuing your passion – we know that’s what Paul would expect from you.
Thank you, good night and congratulations to all of tonight’s other scholarship recipients.