The Simon Says: Live A Better Life Scholarship is looking for a student that, despite the struggles of their circumstances, has strived to help others either through volunteer work or by the way they have chosen to make a difference in their community or family and at the same time continued to make school a priority.
Simon Jones graduated from Omaha North Nigh School in the top 2% of his class in 2017. He was an exceptional student who attended AP and Dual Enrollment classes as well as following the Bio-Medical and Engineering Pathways offered at Omaha North. He received the Buffet Scholarship and had been accepted into the Engineering Program at the University of Nebraska Omaha. While at North he also participated in Cross Country, Track and Field, Bike Club and in the Science Club. Outside of school he was president of the Teen Advisory Council at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, a member of the Florence Christian Youth group and Team Captain for Relay for Life. He also created and began the Simon Says: “Happy Birthday” Toy Drive to benefit the Living Hope Food Pantry. He accomplished these things even though he had cancer.
Simon was diagnosed in January 2013 at the age of 13 with DSRCT, a rare and aggressive soft tissue sarcoma. He underwent numerous chemotherapies, radiation treatments and multiple surgeries while he attended and finished his high school career. In September 2016 he began writing an inspirational Facebook Blog call Simon Says: Live a Better Life. From September of that year until his death he encouraged other with a simple message; “Our struggles do not define who we are, but WE define how we share our struggles with the world”. His wish was for the world to know that we all have something that holds us back from living a better life. It could be an illness like Simons, it could an unfortunate event that caused a detour in our plans or even the circumstances you were born into. Like Simon, we all can choose to be the light and hope in someone else’s path and to Live a Better Life.
This was his mission and now it is ours. We have the privilege of telling the whole world Simon’s story. How cancer died from Simon, not Simon died from cancer, how he held his head high through pain and fear. How he chose to be the light and hope, and to lift everyone else despite his own struggle. Simon’s life has purpose and his struggle was not in vain. How through it all he never stopped believing that God had a greater plan for his journey.
- Any OPS high school graduating senior
- GPA 3.0 or higher
- Essay response to all the following three points:
- a hardship or struggle that you have overcome or are currently facing.
- what it means to you to “Live a Better Life” in spite of your circumstance.
- how through secondary education you plan to make a difference in the life of others.
- Two recommendation letters (non-relative) testifying to the personal hardship of the applicant, the character of the applicant, and the achievements in the effort of “Living a Better Life”.
Should you be selected for this award, please send verification of your enrollment at the college or university of your choice and a “Thank You” note directed to the donor to Omaha Public Schools Foundation. The award will be forwarded to the college of choice upon receipt.
The Omaha Public Schools Foundation
Toba Cohen Dunning
3861 Farnam St.
Omaha, NE 68131
**You can donate to the scholarship on our secure donation portal. Use the drop down menu on the form to designate the Simon Says Live a Better Life Scholarship.