Four students earn Nico Luiggi Scholarship in its first year

Seventh-graders share challenges, successes, higher ed goals

The first recipients of the Nico Luiggi Scholarship Fund have been announced.

Carmen Hagios and Ray Luiggi started the fund to honor their son and Hamilton International Middle School student, who died two months after a summer rollover collision last year put him in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury.

Nico Luiggi would have been in seventh grade this year, and the scholarship fund is being designed to follow students from Hamilton and McClure Middle School through high school.

Two seventh-graders from both Hamilton and McClure were awarded $1,500 scholarships this year.

“He and I took drama together for about a semester, and he was in my home room,” said Hamilton student Aiyana Romero. “He was always very funny. He always had a joke or two up his sleeve and everything. He was very funny and nice. He was always willing to help someone.”

Romero heard about the scholarship during morning announcements, but said it was her librarian who pushed her to apply.

The scholarship application requires students write a two-page essay about their passions in life and plans for after high school.

“I wrote my essay mostly about my parents’ divorce and how that really impacted me at the time, and how it really got me thinking about my future,” Romero said. “I want to be a psychiatrist when I grow up. I always found that field very interesting.”

Romero said she would like to study psychiatry at Yale.

Hamilton student Liv Schiller wrote her essay about her respiratory health issues. She wants to help people like her after attending medical school, she said.

“I wrote about the difficulties I faced having medical issues and how it’s changed me as a person,” Schiller said. “It’s hard to tell what has changed, but really, when I think about it, it’s everything. My life has changed a lot, but really it’s in a good way.”

Nico Luiggi’s parents met with all of the scholarship recipients to present them with their awards.

“They were so kind and they were so nice,” Schiller said, “and they were just great.”

McClure seventh-grader Eve Rainbolt saw the scholarship notice in the school newsletter. She loves math, and wrote about how she tutors math as part of her community service.

“I would love to study math and satellites. I just want to work in the satellite field,” Rainbolt said. “I’m a very mathematical person; I do it all day. I love math because it’s not subjective, it’s just straight-up rules.”

Rainbolt was born in New Hampshire, she said, and wants to study at MIT.

“I know their acceptance rate is 9 percent, but I study a lot, and I think I can get there,” she said.

Elliott Jansson wrote his essay about overcoming dyslexia during his time at Lawton Elementary and excelling in school.

“He did a great job, and has straight As now at McClure,” said his mother Rebecca Jansson.

“I think I want to become a computer engineer, that type of profession — tech,” said Elliott Jansson, who recently built his own computer, “because it’s cheaper and more powerful if you buy the parts.”

The Nico Luiggi Scholarship Fund will be open to eighth-graders at McClure and Hamilton next year.