The parents of Nico Luiggi are honoring their son’s memory with a college scholarship that will follow his former classmates through the years leading up to graduation.
“We really wanted to do something for the kids who suffered,” said Nico’s mother Carmen Hagios. “It was quite tragic, as you can imagine.”
The 13-year-old Hamilton International Middle School student suffered a traumatic brain injury in a rollover collision in August 2018 that killed one of his friends. He succumbed to his injuries two months later, followed by Leo Schneider in January.
Nico would be in seventh grade now, and those are the students who qualify for the first year of the Nico Luiggi Scholarship Fund at Hamilton and McClure Middle School, which many of his friends from elementary school now attend. The fund will open to eighth-graders next year, followed by ninth and so on.
“We’re actually working with an organization called Alliance for Education, which is an organization that works with all of the schools in the city to set up funding,” said Nico’s father Ray Luiggi. “There are two committees that are set up, one at Hamilton and one at McClure, that are reviewing all of the scholarships.”
The committees ensure Nico’s parents are not influenced by their relationships with the students, as their son had many friends, Hagios said.
Students have until Friday, May 31, to apply at nicoluiggi.org, and two students from each school will later be selected to receive $1,500.
They decided they didn’t want the scholarship to be based solely on academic merit, and the application includes a requirement that students write a two-page essay about their passions in life and plans for after high school.
“Nico himself was a really passionate kid,” Luiggi said. “He liked and was so curious about many different topics, and enthusiastic too.”
The three boys who lost their lives as a result of the collision outside Cle Elum last year are being honored with a full page in the Hamilton yearbook.
“In a way they are there this year, in the yearbook,” Hagios said. “The boys are still with the kids. They’re still thinking about them, I’m sure.”
The man at the wheel of the Mazda Tribute the boys were riding in is set to go to trial in Ellensburg on Aug. 13. He’s charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault. The trial had originally been set for May 21.
Hagios said she’s somewhat relieved to not have to relive the experience of losing her son so soon, but it’s becoming more difficult to distract herself the closer it gets to summer.
“In some ways it’s getting harder, because the sun is coming out and summer is coming,” she said, “and I’m always thinking about what Nico would be doing.”
He’d be out playing with his friends and likely working on his backflips.
Nico’s birthday was in September, and his parents hope to organize a fundraiser for the scholarship fund around that time.
“It’s shaping up, but it’s too early to say anything about it,” Hagios said.