Support is growing for the Brandon Jackson Memorial Scholarship and Basketball Shoot Out. Bigger crowds cheered on athletes at the 4th annual sports tournament, which raises money for students heading to college.
This year, 23 teams competed on the first day of summer. The games took place June 21st at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Tournament Director David Williams says even more teams wanted to play. It'll be a two day event next year, he added.
Referees donated their time. "It's just the right thing to do, for a good cause," said Raymond Jackson, a high school referee. "I am in the business of working with kids, and the Brandon Jackson Scholarship gives chances to kids," said Ben Cordeiro, Arcadia High Varsity Basketball Coach. Cordeiro brought three teams to the tournament.
Brandon Jackson's tragic death remains unsolved. The popular Muir High student-athlete was gunned down February 12, 2011 on a street in Altadena. He had just turned 18. Today, Shannon Davis, Brandon's cousin, says she feels blessed, honored and grateful about all the good things being done in Brandon's name.
The 2014 Brandon Jackson Memorial Scholarship winners are Antoinnette Joy Boliver, Brenden Dickerson, German Fortin, Ciara Gatti, David Reyes, Ayo Sutherland and Lance Wyndon. Organizers are set to award more than $1000 to each winner.
2013 recipient, Billie Rude, said the scholarship money and a big support group kept her motivated. She just finished her freshman year at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks.
Jared Norsworthy was one of the first scholarship recipients. He'll be a senior this fall at Howard University in Washington D.C. He took part in this year's alumni game. Norsworthy says it's important for young people to experience academic life outside Pasadena. And financial help makes that possible, said Norsworthy.
Jackson's legacy also inspired Southern California artist Pete Morris. He creates watercolors of what he observes during tournament games. His artwork was on display at the event.
[Reva Hicks is a freelance writer and former Channel 4 News Content Producer.]