After losing her son in a violent car crash in 2011, local mother Vera Sohovich began a scholarship program to help students avoid the very mistakes that cost her son his life.
In June of 2011, Sohovich’s son Daniel lost control of his car and died during a car accident on Polling House Road. Police the and wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
In the weeks that followed, Sohovich created a Facebook group encouraging people to drive safely in memory of her son. Now, more than a year later as teens prepare for their final two quarters in high school, the local Mom is getting the word out about her special scholarship program for Southern High students.
Out of the pain of losing her son comes an opportunity to help people and make sure they are careful, serious and responsible when they get behind the wheel she said.
For seniors graduating from Southern High in 2013, Sohovich will award at least three scholarships of $3,500 to worthy candidates. Each applicant must have a 3.5 GPA, be involved in one extracurricular activity, be accepted into a two or four-year college, have a clean driving record with no major violations and earn a teachers recommendation.
Lastly, each applicant must perform a community awareness project on driving safety and provide written verification of the effort.
“The project can be as simple as checking students for seatbelt use in the student lot,” Sohovich said. “There are many topics … distracted driving, texting, speeding, staying off the roads in dangerous weather conditions. Just read about all the accidents and deaths in our back yard.”
The local mom knows that it’s hard to get kids to pay attention to “safe driving” campaigns, but she hopes the scholarship program will motivate college-bound students to promote safety while seeking financial aid.
Sohovich’s son Daniel was a student at Virginia Tech when he passed away. She hopes students encouraging students about safe driving will do more than any one parent could.
“I know firsthand that a parent can teach, preach, remind and nag, yet they still don’t get it,” she said. “Kids think they are bulletproof.”
Applications are being accepted. Those interested in applying for one of the $3,500 scholarships should contact Sohovich at VeraSoho@aol.com.