The death of a swimmer on Mustang Island today is a painful reminder for the mother of Je’Sani Smith.
He’s the King High School student who drowned just over a month ago while swimming near Bob Hall Pier.
After her son’s passing, Kiwana Denson plans to continue moving forward by giving back to King High School and awarding students a potentially life-saving scholarship.
College-bound King seniors had the chance to earn a $1,200 scholarship by writing a 1,200-word essay on how they would educate others about water safety and rip currents.
Regarding the possible dangers that rip currents can bring, Denson says, “Because it is preventable… If we, again, just take a moment and just learn about the risks that the ocean and other bodies of water present to us.”
The first ever Je’Sani Smith Water Scholarship recipient, Vanessa Lane, was presented with the good news and check while working her shift at Whataburger.
Je’Sani’s mom said Vanessa was selected due to her great ideas, including the concept of introducing schools to “beach days.”
The King senior further explains the idea with, “having different sections where they have… one section could be teaching someone CPR. The other could be informing people and another could be just recognizing the ones who have passed.”
Denson wants to make this an annual scholarship, so that when students apply, they are required to learn.
“Even if we only select one person, everyone is a winner because they have new information,” she said. “They’re more knowledgeable about rip currents and how to successfully get themselves out of a dangerous situation.”
The family is additionally offering the Del Mar College Memorial Scholarship for Je’Sani Smith to Del Mar College students in the welding, arts and music program.
Donations are being accepted year round.
For anyone wanting to donate, go to www.delmar.edu, and click the GIVE tab and look for the Je’Sani Scholarship box. By clicking on Give to this Cause, you can find further information on the scholarship.