SOUTH RANGE - The memory of a South Range teen is inspiring people to help others.
Brittany Nicholas, 19, an education major at Northern Michigan, was driving home to South Range to visit her family for Thanksgiving when her car crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle. She later died from her injuries.
A group of her friends at Jeffers High School discussed what to do in her honor. They formed a consensus: create a scholarship for Jeffers students who are also pursuing education degrees.
Photo courtesy of the Nicholas family
Brittany Nicholas is seen here in her senior picture. The 19-year-old Jeffers High School grad died of injuries she sustained in a Nov. 26 traffic accident near L’Anse. A scholarship fund set up in her memory by friends has raised more than $11,000 in a month.
The goal was $10,000. In just a month, the fundraising website has already passed that mark, with 272 donors giving more than $11,500.
"I didn't really think it would get quite this far," said Hannah Rundman, a Jeffers classmate of Nicholas who created the website. "I just thought it would be from Jeffers, or other students who knew her would donate $5, $10, and we'd get a few hundred dollars. It really grew kind of quickly."
And there's more than the website, said her father, Steve Nicholas.
The family has donated all the memorials it received - close to $6,000 - to the scholarship. Dollar Bay High School will hold a 50-50 raffle at every home boys' and girls' basketball game this year, with half the proceeds going to the scholarship. At Jeffers' first home boys' basketball game of the year, the school donated the gate, concessions money and proceeds from a 50/50 raffle.
Her friends are also selling other things to raise money. One friend who knits is knitting scarves and other items. Another is putting together orange and pink bracelets, after Brittany's two favorite colors.
"She's literally sold hundreds of them," Steve Nicholas said.
Had it been anyone else, Brittany would have been doing the same thing, Steve Nicholas said.
"She was always there for people," he said. "Brittany was the kind of kid that would do anything for anybody.
"She was always trying to help somebody out. I think a lot of her friends realize that, and they're paying it back."
Steve Nicholas said the community's support has helped his family get through the hardest time of their lives. "We're really proud to keep her name alive by doing that," he said.
The family hopes to make the scholarship permanent.
To donate to the scholarship, go to gofundme.com/5iyg0g.