NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - Two nursing students are the first recipients of a scholarship honoring a Jackson County murder victim.
Arkansas State University-Newport announced Monday that Hailey Neeley of Tuckerman and Taelehs Nicholson of Newport won the first Sydney Sutherland Memorial Scholarship.
Each student will receive a $500 renewable scholarship to help them continue their education in the nursing profession, according to a news release from the college.
Sutherland’s family, including her mother and father, brothers and nieces, helped present the checks to each student.
“We can’t thank the community enough for helping us keep Sydney’s memory alive in such a positive way,” said Maggy Sutherland, Sydney’s mother. “This scholarship is just one way we can keep Sydney’s light shining.”
Sam Sutherland echoed his mother’s sentiments.
“It means so much to our family to be able to honor Sydney and her passion for helping and serving others,” he said. “Each scholarship that is given is just another way for Sydney’s legacy to live on.”
Sydney Sutherland graduated ASU-Newport’s practical nursing program and was working as a registered nurse last August when she was killed.
“Caring for people has always been my passion,” Neeley said. “In the nursing profession you have to take care of complete strangers, and I have signed up to do this for life, just like one of my very best friends, Sydney Sutherland.”
Nicholson enrolled in the practical nursing program following the birth of her son who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“Following in her [Sydney] footsteps will be a difficult journey, but her inspiration is leading me down a path to do all that I am able to help and assist those around me,” Nicholson said.