“When we heard Tyler had passed, we all wanted to do something in his memory, and we (PTA) thought: why not rename one of our scholarships in Tyler’s name?” said PTA President Bobbi Nugent.
School administrators agreed, and this year the Tyler Toal Passion for Life scholarship made its inaugural debut, honoring two of the school’s former students – Catherine Kutsuris and Cody Robinson – with $250 cash awards. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors at area high schools who attended Discovery Bay Elementary School. Winners are judged on written essays describing things in their lives they feel passionate about.
Tyler’s mother Daniella Fonseca is proud of the dedication. “Tyler was really active; he did all kinds of sports and had a real passion for the things he did,” said Daniella, who has two other sons, 12 and 8. “He touched a lot of lives in the short time he was here and we feel very honored that they named it after him.”
Nugent said that in a small community like Discovery Bay, a loss such as Tyler’s is felt by everyone – those who knew him personally and even those who did not.
“I had never met Tyler, but my daughter was in school with him,” said Nugent. “And I remember when she was in fifth grade, we took her friends to the roller rink for her birthday. I remember the girls sitting in the back seat and talking about a Tyler with the dreamy blue eyes. When we heard about it (Tyler’s death) I immediately thought about the cute boy with the dreamy blue eyes. It’s a nice memory; a nice way to remember him.”