In memoriam of Jake Brandon Harris, a 19-year-old Pepperdine University student who died in a 2018 fatal car crash, a scholarship was created by his girlfriend, Annabelle Roberts, to carry on his legacy.
Now a rising senior at the university, Roberts plans to continue distributing the scholarship annually.
In an interview with The Malibu Times, Roberts said her mom suggested she channel her feelings after the death to “create something positive” and the Jake Brandon Harris Memorial Scholarship was born.
“I feel like scholarships are a pretty popular thing to start to remember someone and I really wanted to do it to remember Jake,” she said. “And second, there’s also benefiting someone else, helping another student achieve their dreams of getting educated.”
“Within 24 hours, I had the website up and running,” she later described. “I think less than two weeks later, I had raised $1,000.”
In 2018, she was able to raise the money with the help of her and Harris’ friends and family. Students are selected for the prize after submitting personal essays. Last year’s prompt focused on happiness, and after receiving more than 2,100 essay applications, was awarded to Reed H. of Loyola Marymount University.
“Jake was a very happy person; [it] embodied him well,” she explained.
This year, Roberts hopes to raise at least $1,500 for the scholarship.
Students looking to apply for the scholarship must meet the following criteria:
• Must have at least a 3.0 grade point average
• Must be an incoming 2019 college freshman
• Must plan on attending a four-year university in the United States
This year’s prompt has not been decided on just yet—she hopes to include friends and family in the decision through a poll or other method.
To donate to the scholarship fund, visit jbhscholarship.com/donate. The application is set to open early next month.