Jacki James has worked tirelessly for more than two years to end bullying.
Her son Peyton took his own life in 2014, at just 13-years-old, after being bullied.
She created the anti-bullying campaign Kindness Matters. But now she’s helping others and wanting his name to be remembered for years to come.
A few months after Peyton’s death, James created a $1,000 scholarship for veterinarian students going to Texas A&M.
"This is just our way of helping a little bit,” said James. "If their only road block is finances, then that shouldn't be a road block to getting a better education.”
She wanted the money to honor Peyton, who loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian.
"It's kind of my way of sending Peyton to vet school in a roundabout way by doing it through these other kids,” said James.
Recipients must receive their bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, because Peyton loved the Longhorns, have a 2.5 GPA, and be a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners club.
"He loved cats, he wanted to have a vet clinic that only helped cats,” said James.
At one point, James told KVUE she even joked about wanting the recipient to have red hair, just like Peyton.
Since they started the scholarship in Feb 2015, they’ve given away two scholarships.
But now James is working to raise $25,000 to make it an endowment.
"Then the Payton A James scholarship at Texas A&M is permanent which means in 100 years someone will still be getting Peyton's scholarship,” said James.
That means the scholarship money would fund itself, and give money to future students in Peyton’s name, forever.
"It's all about making sure people don't forget him,” said James.
From starting the anti-bullying campaign Kindness Matters to this memorial scholarship, Jacki said she wants Peyton's memory to live on.
"I really can't just sit back and not have him be remembered, and I know that's probably very selfish of me but I want people to know who he was and to know what was important to him,” said James.
With this scholarship, it's clear what was important to him - helping animals, and helping others.
"I know it's something that Peyton would be very proud of, he would be proud to have his name on it, and I want him to be proud of me,” said James.
A teacher wanting to change the world, and a mother, just wanting her son to be proud.
"Knowing that other kids are getting to do what he wanted to do, with the animals especially, I think he would be proud,” said James. "It's important to me as a teacher, as a mother, as Peyton's mother to know that these kids are going to use some of our help fulfill their dreams, which was really Peyton's dream too and go out and be changing the world that they live in."
You can donate to the scholarship fund in a number of ways.
Directly on the scholarship website here.
Buy a $10 ticket to the Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser on April 1 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Georgetown.
You can buy a ticket by paying firstname.lastname@example.org on PayPal.com
Or you can buy Kendra Scott jewelry on April 28 at the S. Congress store in Austin.
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