Thursday, February 14, 2013

WWU Scholarship Luncheon

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Yesterday my husband and I had the privilege of attending Western Washington University's Donor & Scholar luncheon at the Rainier Club in downtown Seattle. As some of you know, after Matthew died we requested that people make donations to Western in his honor. WWU was a place that was very close to his heart, and he experienced tremendous growth there. Amazingly, we were able to endow the scholarship within the first six months. We now have had two recipients of the Matthew Gaphni Memorial Scholarship. 

This luncheon provides the opportunity for donors to meet the scholarship recipients. Last year we were out of town at the time of the luncheon, although to be honest I'm not sure we were quite ready to take that step. But this year we wanted to go and meet the young woman who was the second recipient of the Matthew Gaphni Memorial Scholarship.

Before I go into what it was like meeting Macy, I just want to say what a privilege it was to sit amongst these talented young people who will make such a difference in our world. For many of them, these scholarships are the difference between pursuing a college education and not being able to go to school at all. Their stories of overcoming adversity and sheer perseverance are inspiring and heartwarming at the same time. My husband and I were simply in awe of these young people. One of the students, who was the recipient of the Shilvock/Sibonga Scholarship to Break the Cycle of the Homeless, told his story to the crowd of emancipating himself from an abusive home and living on the streets for a while his senior year. His story was a reminder of what humans are capable of overcoming (even at such a young age).

Our recipient-Macy- was such a delight for us to meet. She is poised, intelligent, a hard worker and has a  bright spirit which is captivating. She's only a freshman, so she's not quite settled on her major yet, but she has a dream of one day directing her own theatre company. Right now, she is taking advantage of all that Western has to offer, including her desire to be a part of their Improv Group-The Dead Parrots Society. I hope she can make this dream a reality. Our time with her passed by so quickly; I could have spent all afternoon with her. 

The three of us at the luncheon
A few people have asked me if it was difficult being a part of this luncheon and meeting Macy. It really wasn't at all. There was such genuine gratitude in that room. And while you would think it would be one-way, I can tell you that it was definitely both ways. I am so grateful to Macy for being exactly the type of recipient we hoped for. When people talk about silver linings, I know that this is what they mean. I can't help but feel that Matthew would be pleased with what is being done in his name. And of course, we are so grateful to all of the people who have contributed to this scholarship in his honor these past two years. Together we've made this a reality. Meeting Macy made the abstract idea of a scholarship concrete and made us realize that scholarships can change lives.


  1. A rewarding experience all around. Very fitting quote at the top. Nice post.

  2. Oh, this makes me smile and warms my heart. You are extraordinary people and role models, how lucky we are to be able to spin around in your universe.

  3. What a wonderful experience for you and Israel, as well as for Macy - I'm so glad that you attended. The scholarship is a great idea, and it is a beautiful legacy for Matthew - one that will touch many people in our lifetime, and far into the future. I'm happy for you, and happy to know about this annual event. Thank you for sharing it with us!