One year ago, on May 4, 2018, Jillian “Jill” Savage passed away at the all-too-young age of 34 in Lincoln, where she lived most of her life.

“Jillian was a rare light in this world – a true force of good and kindness that we will always remember and cherish,” longtime friend Lori Moore, who graduated with Savage from Lincoln Southeast High School in 2002, wrote in Savage’s obituary. “She had a spunk to her and sense of humor that could put a smile on your face in a heartbeat, and a laugh that could carry across a room. Jillian was loved deeply by everyone whose life she touched, and this world will be left deeply changed by her time on this earth. While her time with us was short, her memory will forever remain burned in our hearts.”

Laura Obrist, another longtime friend and classmate at Lincoln Southeast, said, “Some of Jill’s happiest memories were made at Lincoln Southeast, and going off to college was like a dream come true for her (she attended Miami University and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln). School was always a very positive and cherished thing for Jill – so much so that one of her greatest heartaches was that she could not afford to further her education, a common theme for young people today.”

Savage was “always big on helping others, especially in relation to education and personal development,” Obrist added.

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To honor Jill’s memory and her passion for education, Moore and Obrist reached out to two former Lincoln Southeast teachers and mentors – Rob McEntarffer, who now works for the Lincoln Public Schools District, and Brent Toalson, who is now principal at Southeast. They connected them with the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, where they received help in starting a scholarship fundraising page in memory of Savage. The page went live in late March.

In less than two months, the page has acquired 29 donors and raised $4,890. According to Obrist, the goal is to raise enough funds to establish an endowed (permanent) annual scholarship in Savage’s name. To accomplish that, the friends need to raise $28,500 – the magic number needed to establish a self-sustaining investment fund that will produce an annual scholarship without requiring additional donations.

“We are at 17.16% of our total fundraising goal, and we still have a long way to go," Obrist said. "Regardless of how much we raise, the foundation will help us create a scholarship in Jill’s name; but we are really hoping that we can make this a permanent scholarship, as opposed to a short-lived one. Either way, any money raised will go to Lincoln Southeast students in need to further their education.”

Those wishing to help can donate online at foundationforlps.org/for-jill (be sure to read Savage’s full biography, written by Obrist, to learn more about her life and accomplishments) or mail a check made out to the Foundation for LPS (with “Jillian Savage memorial” written in the memo line) to the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, 5905 O St., Lincoln, NE 68510. For more information, contact Gary Reber at gary.reber@lps.org or 402-436-1612.

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