Scholarship reaches 25 years of helping students

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 20, 2011


The Nicole Marie Shammas Memorial Scholarship, named after Nicole Shammas, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — A woman on the Internet wrote a blog a few years ago about how she remembered a young girl who was taken way too soon as someone who was never mean to a soul.

She was writing about Nicole Shammas, a girl she knew for most of their childhood and called her friend, who died in 1986 during one of those tragedies that no parent ever imagines will happen to their family. Yet, it did happen to the Shammas family. But they found a way to keep Nicole’s memory alive and help future generations of families with a scholarship in her name.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Nicole Marie Shammas Memorial Scholarship, which is a $1,000 scholarship for students who “show an interest in the arts and academic promise.”

“We are very grateful for the generosity of the Shammas family over the years,” Liggett Director of Development Kelley Hamilton said. “The scholarship they created in memory of their daughter Nicole has honored many young men and women at Liggett’s middle school and in so doing perpetuates Nicole’s memory.”

Shammas was a middle school student at University Liggett in 1986 when she died.

“Tragically, she died while using an electric lawnmower when the power cord was damaged,” Liggett Director of External Relations Kevin Breen said. “Her parents established a scholarship in her memory. Friends, classmates and family contributed to the scholarship and some continue to do so.”

In the scholarship’s 25 years, there have been close to 50 students who have been recipients of the funding. They have included a number of musicians and artists over the years.

“Nicole enjoyed the arts and wrote poetry,” Breen said. “As this is the 25th anniversary of her passing, many of the adult recipients are now successful professionals. It’s a powerful legacy.”

This year’s recipient is sixth-grade student Lauren Meredith of New Baltimore.