D.J. Sokol was an inspiration to thousands of Omaha residents.
The son of a Berkshire Hathaway exec, D.J. died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 16. D.J. left behind a positive legacy, so much so that Omaha's chapter of the Salvation Army has named a scholarship after him: the D.J.'s Hero Awards.
That scholarship's nomination window is now open, and is available to "exceptional" Nebraska high-school seniors who emulate D.J.'s life. As the Salvation Army wrote in the scholarship program's info brochure, "D.J.’s positive outlook on life and extraordinary dedication to helping others made him a hero."
Seven winners each will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Many of the students who've won this award went on to do some pretty awesome things. You can read some of those stories in this 2014 OWH article.
"Through the D.J.’s Hero Awards, D.J.’s memory lives on in the recipients who share his characteristics and dedication to others," the brochure says.
We downloaded the scholarship application to get a better sense of what the rules are what's requirements of you to nominate a student.
Who can qualify for this scholarship?
Great question! From a factual standpoint, the nominated student must be a high-school senior, a U.S. resident, live in Nebraska and attend the D.J.'s Hero Awards Luncheon this May in Omaha.
Also, the student who is nominated has to write an essay (250 words or less) about why he or she is worthy of winning the scholarship.
As for the non-factual, character-based requirements, the student in question should be someone who has overcome difficulty, shown leadership ability and has been committed to his or her community.
What do I need to do in order to nominate a student?
To nominate a student, you have to be an adult and you can't be related to the person you are nominating. In order to officially nominate someone, you'll have to download the application from the Salvation Army's website. You'll need to answer to following four questions and then mail those answers along with the application and the student's essay:
- Describe in detail how the nominee demonstrates maturity and/or courage by acting independently.
- Explain in specific detail how the nominee overcomes challenges/adversity.
- Identify the nominee's personal goals, greatest achievements and how he or she expresses enthusiasm for life.
- Show how the student's commitment to the community and leadership roles in service to the community.