JEFFERSON — Friends and family of Katelyn Mutai, a Jefferson High School senior recently killed in a car crash, gathered at a Jefferson park on Saturday to celebrate her birthday by donating a check to the East Texas Performing Arts Inc. to benefit the scholarship that bears her name.
Mutai will now forever be honored with a memorial scholarship fund in her name by the Jefferson-based ETPA organization that she volunteered with for several years before her death.
The East Texas Performing Arts Inc. in August renamed their annual scholarship fund the Katelyn Mutai Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of Mutai who was killed on July 12.
In just the past couple of months, Mutai’s friends and family have managed to collect more than $5,000 to be donated to the scholarship fund which will be awarded to graduating Jefferson High School seniors each year.
“My daughter wanted to go to college at Oklahoma State University when she graduated,” Mutai’s mom Jada Love said Saturday. ”She was so smart. She planned to study FBI forensics.“
One of Mutai’s favorite ways to spend her free time was by volunteering with the ETPA where she starred in several productions, including, “The Throwaway Children,” and “Annie Warbucks.”
“What was so special about our Katelyn was that countless people considered her to be their very best friend,” ETPA President Sara Whitaker said Saturday. “She displayed a love and a passion for people and for life. Katelyn’s legacy of love, grace, kindness and a passion for the arts will live on through her memorial scholarship.”
One of those best friends, fellow Jefferson High School senior Stone Parker, helped Love and the rest of Katelyn’s family collect the donations raised.
Love, Parker and the rest of the friends and family sold bracelets, which are still for sale at $2 each, and Parker went door to door collecting money.
“I went on Facebook and helped spread the word about the fundraiser and then just went out one day going door to door collecting money for the fund,” Parker said. “We also had an anonymous donor that said they would match what we raised up to $2,000 so that helped a lot too.”
Parker said he wanted to do what he could to help.
“She was my best friend. I saw a need and I wanted to help,” Parker said.
Love said donations will continue to be collected and bracelets will continue to be sold as the scholarship fund is an annual event that will benefit other Jefferson High School seniors heading to college.
“We’re going to keep this going and we’re also going to continue to meet here each year on her birthday (Nov. 6) to celebrate her,” Love said.
A balloon release was held on Friday at the Jefferson Bulldog stadium in honor of Mutai‘s birthday.
The Katelyn Mutai Memorial Scholarship is awarded based upon dedication, achievement, and growth while participating in ETPA productions.
To help with the cause and donate to the scholarship fund, go to the scholarship’s page on the ETPA website at https://opnseo.com/katelyn