South Summit junior wins $2,500 scholarship
May 12, 2015
When Abigail Edmunds was notified she had won a $2,500 scholarship through the Utah 1033 Foundation, she thought it was a prank.
"I thought my older sister would have gotten it before me and when my parents told me I had won, I honestly thought they were joking," Edmunds said. "I was really shocked and really happy at the same time."
The South Summit High School junior and daughter of former Sheriff Dave Edmunds was presented the scholarship May 5 at a special ceremony in Salt Lake City.
Edmunds won the scholarship as part of the Aaron Beesley Leadership Award through the Utah 1033 Foundation. The group provides financial assistance to the families of fallen officers in the state of Utah and recently started offering post-secondary education scholarships to the children of active duty police officers.
According to a press release, the award is named in honor of Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Beesley, who was killed while rescuing two missing teenage hikers along the Mount Olympus trail in Salt Lake County in June of 2012.
"I think it’s amazing that they want to keep them in their memories and they want to recognize them still," Edmunds said. "I think it is hard for the families and in the beginning the whole community rallies around them. But after a while, those things die out."
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Beesley’s family was present when Edmunds was given the award and she said it was very emotional interacting with his wife, brother and parents.
"I got a little teary," she said.
Mona Steen, co-founder of the nonprofit organization, said the scholarship program has two objectives.
"One is to honor, on an ongoing basis, the officers who were killed in the line of duty," Steen said. "The other is: it’s just a way to keep those sacrifices those families and those individuals made alive."
The scholarship program is "more positive" and something that can honor fallen officers on an ongoing basis without having to go through a tragedy, Steen said.
Edmunds applied for the scholarship by submitting a 500-word essay about her thoughts on leadership.
"I remember specifically saying that a leader doesn’t have to have a big title, but just someone who does the right thing and inspires others to do good things, too," she said.
Steen, who was also present at the ceremony, said she was "just amazed" with Edmunds’ poise and her appreciation,
"All of these applicants come from law enforcement families and already appreciate the sacrifice, but she was particularly impressive," Steen said. "She was very eloquent in the way she described what that showed her as a student about commitment, loyalty and focus."
Dave Edmunds said he was "really proud" of his daughter’s award, especially since it is in the name of a fallen officer.
"That makes it that much more gratifying," he said. "We are all a big family and we all feel very strongly about what we do. The people who do it alongside of us are truly our brothers."
Scholarship recipients are able to collect the award up to three years after graduating from high school, which is fortunate for Edmunds who is undecided on her post-graduation plans.
"I haven’t all the way decided," she said. "I’m LDS so I want to go on a mission before I go to college and then I definitely want to knock out my generals at a college in the area."
Edmunds said she is grateful for the flexibility the scholarship awards her so she can "still do what I always wanted to do and then be able to take my money and continue my education."
"It’s a real honor to get this scholarship and I’m really happy that Torre and Mona (Steen) decided to start this foundation," she said. "I’m just honored and Aaron Beesley is a name I will never forget after this."