From the ESMS Intern’s Desk By Caroline Hipwell
On Wednesday, June 29, the ESMS team presented Abigail Kosic with the 2016 Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship, which is awarded every year to a graduating high school senior in the Chester County area.
On September 14, 1984, Stephen was playing in a soccer game when he was suddenly struck by lightning; the Ericson family was blessed to have him for another five days until his passing on September 19, 1984.
This story didn’t just hit local news – people around the globe heard about Stephen because his accident was so unusual. So many were affected by his story and people from all over began to reach out to the Ericson family expressing condolences, and even inquired about donating in his honor and memory. It was at this moment that Stephen’s parents, Laura & Joseph Ericson, decided to create the scholarship, with the first award given in May 1985. The goal of the Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship is to help a student with their first year of college or trade school. The scholarship has grown throughout the years, with this year’s amount at $2,000! Since 1985, the scholarship has been awarded to 37 students ranging from the West Chester Christian School (1985-2012) and Henderson High School (2012 to present). Students went on to attend colleges such as Bob Jones University, West Chester University, Clearwater Christian College, and more. The scholarship is a way of directly helping a student achieve their, post high school, education and to be inspired to give back and have a life long heart for helping others and their community.
It was a great experience to witness Abigail and her family being given the scholarship award. This was also the first recipient that has had a personal connection through the Roslyn Swim Club. The Ericson family were members of the Roslyn Swim Club beginning in 1962 and Abigail and her family are current members. It was at Roslyn that Abigail heard of Stephen, through Jeff Bott – Stephen’s best friend. I thought it was so cool to see the connection with Stephen as his award was being presented to Abigail! Hearing stories about Stephen’s life made me feel like I really knew Stephen personally. I know that this award will help Abigail as she embarks on this new journey in life, beginning her college career at Wingate University.
One takeaway I got from this experience was the importance of appreciating all you have in this very moment. Life is truly precious, and Stephen’s story just shows how one moment can change everything. I also think as individuals, we should strive to be more like Stephen: gentle, kind, and loving. With so much craziness in the world, sometimes we forget to simply just be kind. I learned a lot from Stephen’s story, and it was amazing to see him impact another person’s life today. Stephen Chandler Ericson continues to live on.