DANBURY — In memory of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, a 6-year-old victim of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Western Connecticut State University will award a four-year scholarship to an incoming freshman this fall and continue to support music students every year thereafter, according to the university.
Ana was the daughter of Jimmy Greene, a saxophonist and music professor at Western, and Nelba Márquez-Greene, a family therapist. She is also survived by a brother, 9-year-old Isaiah.
Days after the events of 12/14, the Greenes asked WCSU to create a scholarship fund as a way to honor Ana’s life, according to the university.
The fund has so far raised more than $75,000, the majority donated by individuals touched by Ana’s story. Many businesses matched donations given by their employees and several groups from across the country held fundraisers for the scholarship.
“This scholarship will allow us to memorialize Ana each year and also help a music student attend the university and concentrate on his or her studies instead of financial concerns,” said Dan Goble, dean of WCSU’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is the right way to honor Ana.”
WCSU President James W. Schmotter said the support from around the country was moving.
“We received gifts of a few dollars from individuals to thousands of dollars raised by groups of people, and the fund has quickly grown to the point where we can award a substantial scholarship each year,” Dr Schmotter said. “This doesn’t make the losses of December 14 any easier to bear, but the support from friends and strangers alike is an indication of the love of humanity that exists in this country. That will help us all affirm life in the aftermath of last year’s horrific events.”
The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund was established to pay tribute to Ana’s love of music by providing the opportunity to assist others who wish to pursue a music education at Western. Her parents said Ana’s love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk.
“In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably,” they said in January. “She never walked anywhere — her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head.
“Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship. We ask that you pray for the legions of people who are left behind to cherish memories of her.”