Story by Charlotte Dekle
Photo courtesy of Yoli Patzkowski
Content Warning: suicide
The family of recently deceased SPHS Class of 2021 alumnus Andre Patzkowski has created an academic scholarship in his honor. The scholarship is being funded through a GoFundMe page organized by Andre’s sister, Yoli Patzkowski, which has been accepting donations since Friday, October 8.
“The plan is to have the scholarship go to students who are struggling academically, or who just need the extra encouragement because of any uncertainties or difficulties,” Yoli said. “A lot of scholarships already go towards helping high achieving students and we want people who, like Andre, are just as deserving and don’t get as much recognition.”
Andre was a student at PCC with hopes to transfer to his dream school, USC. He had a passion for animals, traveling, and especially running, which he participated in on SPHS’ track and field and cross country teams. Andre took his own life on Saturday, Oct. 2.
The GoFundMe page has brought in more than triple its original goal of $10,000. However, it is still open for donations so that the memorial scholarship can reach more students over a longer period of time.
Through the scholarship and Andre’s story, the Patzkowski family hopes to spark meaningful dialogue and initiatives regarding mental health.
“While we wish to fundraise in his honor, we believe that this will bring awareness and spark conversations on how we can not only assist others academically, but also support those overwhelmed by emotional or mental stress,” the GoFundMe stated.
Another GoFundMe page was created on Wednesday, Oct. 6 for Andre’s mother, Pilar Patzkowski, to support her financially during her grieving process as she pursues therapy, funeral arrangements, and more. The fundraiser has not yet reached its $20,000 goal.
Those in need of support can visit Tiger’s mental health resources page.