This year marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Seventy-First football player Evan Raines. But his memory lives on in the form of the Evan Raines Dream Foundation, an organization put together by family members that awards a $1,000 scholarship to a local high school athlete each year.
This year’s winner was Jonathan Everett, a basketball and cross country participant from Pine Forest High School who currently is studying computers at UNC-Charlotte.
Rodney Raines, father of Evan Raines, said the purpose of the scholarship is to encourage a student-athlete, male or female, to continue their educational pursuits and dreams with the help of the scholarship in his son’s memory.
“It’s been driving itself,’’ Raines said of the $1,000 figure. “We have a few benefactors who make sure they send contributions. We do want to expand it at some point in time.’’
The scholarship is available to both male and female athletes, but Raines said, so far, no females have applied for it.
Most of the promotion for the scholarship has come from word of mouth and through posts on the Facebook page for the Evan Raines Dream Foundation.
Part of the problem with growing the scholarship and getting news to a wider audience is that the sudden passing of Evans remains an emotional subject for all of his family that are involved with the scholarship.
“It’s taxing to revisit it,” Raines said. “All the meetings become a tear fest, talking about what we lost. It reminds us and keeps it real fresh.’’
Any athlete from a public or private school within a 25-mile radius of Cumberland County is eligible to apply for the scholarship, Raines said.
The requirements are the student must be committed to attend a specific college and must be involved in athletics and community activities. They also must have a minimum unweighted grade point average of 2.5.
The student does not have to be a member of a school team to qualify as an athlete, Raines said. Participation in recreation league athletics or church league athletics also qualifies.
Raines said he’s been moved by the young men who have applied for and won the scholarship.
“I get to see Evan in some of them,’’ he said. “I see them fulfilling some of their dreams. For a couple of the boys, this was the first generation of their family going to college.’’
Everett, this year’s winner, said he learned of the scholarship from a friend. He wrote a 1,000-word essay describing how sports had affected his life.
“I feel this will allow me to be more successful and show what Fayetteville people can do,’’ Everett said.
He added it’s important to keep Evan’s memory alive. “The family is doing something positive, to help others that need money to go to college,’’ he said.
Everett will apply the scholarship to his tuition at UNC-Charlotte. His goal is to get a job in the internet technology field and to remain in the Charlotte area to work.
For further information on the scholarship, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Rodney Raines, right, presents the check for this year’s Evan Raines Dream Foundation $1,000 scholarship to Jonathan Everett.