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Donors Honor Nicholson by Giving to Scholarship

While friends and families today will celebrate the life of Noblesville’s Jennifer Nicholson, the community is also fortunate to celebrate a new music scholarship that has been created in the music teacher’s name.

By noon on Friday, the new fund, Jennifer Nicholson Music Scholarship, established this week through Noblesville Schools Education Foundation (NSEF), had already received more than $14,000 in donations for the scholarship.

I’m not surprised with the community’s generosity. The community loved the music teacher who came to Noblesville High School in 2002 and directed the NHS Singers mixed show choir and who moved in 2007 to teach music at Noble Crossing Elementary before retiring in 2013. She was a wife, mother, grandmother and music teacher who also taught private voice, piano and beginner piano, and was an inspirational speaker and longtime actress on The Belfry Theatre stage in Noblesville.

Nicholson died a week ago today, on Saturday night, Feb. 19. She was 63.

A Celebration of Life will be at 1 p.m. today at the Noblesville First United Methodist Church with visitation beginning at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the newly created scholarship fund.

Noblesville Schools Education Foundation is working with the family to determine the criteria and specifics and will begin taking applications in 2023 with the intent of honoring her legacy and love of music.

NSEF will hold the donations and are setting up the online application form for students.

This scholarship fund plans to invest in music scholarships throughout Jennifer’s community that allows us all to honor her musical legacy. If individuals would like to contribute, they can use these ways to donate:

  • Donate online by visiting: p2p.onecause.com/jennifernicholson
  • Cash/check can be mailed to NSEF, P.O. Box 724, Noblesville IN 46061. Please write Jennifer Nicholson in the memo line.
  • Any questions should be directed to NSEF executive director Adriann Young at adriann_young@nobl.k12.in.us or 317-773-3171, ext 10431.

“Music moves the soul like nothing else does,” is a quote used on Jennifer Nicholson’s donor page.

And the love for Jennifer Nicholson also moves the soul. Her impact is quite evident by the outpouring of love and giving by the community.

By Friday afternoon, the scholarship fund had already received 83 donations, including five donations of $1,000 or more, seven donations of $500 or more, 24 donations of $100 or more, 30 donations of $50 or more and 10 donations of $25 or more.

The message on the donor page reads: “Jennifer was a beloved teacher who possessed a zest for life demonstrated through her love for God, her family, and Noblesville. A long-standing volunteer in and champion of this community, she had a gift for easily sharing joy and reminding people that they were important and had purpose. Noblesville Schools Education Foundation and Jennifer’s family are privileged to celebrate Jennifer’s legacy of love for people and music by creating the Jennifer Nicholson Music Scholarship.”

Young said, “We are honored to partner with the Nicholson family and put together a scholarship to celebrate Jennifer’s life.”

She said, “We have many scholarships that we manage that are put together to honor someone who has passed. Other scholarships offered are centered around service in the community, athletic or academic achievement and specific professions.”

The Education Foundation works directly with the high school’s Counseling Department to administer the NHS Scholarship Program. Many local scholarships from a variety of organizations are offered and the seniors have access to that information internally, said Young, of Noblesville, who has been Education Foundation director since 2017.

The NHS Counseling Department has more than 100 scholarships available for 2022 applicants. Many of these scholarships are named after a loved one, including the Kurt Kahlo Memorial Scholarship based on need for computer science, business or dentistry; John and Verna Merrell Scholarship to Purdue University; Barney Hobbs Horticulture Scholarship for a child or grandchildren of a Hamilton County Master Gardener; Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Bray Riverview Foundation for a student pursuing the healthcare field; Louis and Ethel Smith Legacy Scholarship for a student pursuing engineering or applied science technology; Bill Burton Kiwanis Scholarship; Korey Michael Penwell Memorial Scholarship presented by the Hipes family for special needs; Peter W. Sanders Memorial Scholarship for a member of the senior girls cross country team; Noblesville Elementary Football League Warren Westrich scholarship for a football player or cheerleader; Frank Pruce Jr. Scholarship for culinary arts; Matthew Wariner (nephew of country music singer Steve Wariner) Scholarship for musical talent; Peter Michael Smith Music Award; Pliny and Mildred Randall Scholarship; Richard Crosser Memorial Scholarship for engineering or building trades; Krissi Davis Memorial Scholarship; Bill Karns Memorial Scholarship for education or business; Mark Vesey Memorial Scholarship for athletics; Susan Flora Resource Scholarship; North Elementary Carole D. Hurst Scholarship; Eric Sjoholm for a student dealing with cancer; Amanda Davis Steadman Memorial Scholarship; Zac Bish Memorial Scholarship; Michael Treinen Scholarship for football or lacrosse athlete; James Lentz Memorial Scholarship for art; Kyle L. Harrop Scholarship; and Calvin Rosser – A Daring Path No-Essay Scholarship.

“NHS is predicting to give out over $150,000 in local scholarships at Honors Night in May,” Young said.

“Scholarships grow every year. If a new scholarship opportunity comes to the district, they work directly with NSEF to establish, as we are the philanthropic arm of Noblesville Schools and have a mission to invest in education,” Young said.

NSEF’s scholarship applications for 2022 opened on Feb. 1, with a scholarship deadline for applications on March 25. NHS Honors Night is May 18.

The Education Foundation also raises money for scholarships. The Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser is Miller-Palooza is next Friday (March 4) at Embassy Suites in Noblesville. The funds raised at this “Aloha-style”- themed event go to support all 10 Noblesville Schools and further the Foundation’s mission of promoting and investing in Noblesville Schools through grants, scholarships, strategic partnerships and volunteer support, Young said.

The in-person Miller-Palooza event starts at 6 p.m. and will feature food stations, spirits, a large auction, a band featuring teachers, a magician, psychics, live caricature art and awards honoring partners of Noblesville Schools. Tickets are $125 each and are available at www.noblesvilleschools.org/foundation.

Young said the Education Foundation — created in 1987 and governed by a volunteer board of directors — expects more than 300 guests and will feature many local businesses as sponsors at the March 4 fundraiser.

Tickets are $125 each.

Businesses, nonprofits and individuals can still sign up to donate items for Miller-Palooza’s silent auction at https://www.noblesvilleschoolseducationfoundation.org/miller-palooza/. Folks can also make monetary donations to the Education Foundation on the website link.

Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.