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‘Go Save a Life’

Two Kenowa Hills graduates have been honored with college scholarships to help them pursue careers in public service, in memory of a student whose death in a 2014 car accident served to raise school awareness of distracted driving.

Joseph Farr and Elizabeth Caputo received the first Jacob Freybler Scholarships, worth $1,000 each. Farr is studying criminal justice corrections at Grand Rapids Community College, and Caputo is majoring in criminal justice and psychology at Northern Michigan University.

They were chosen from approximately 10 applications, which were considered by a team of counselors and an administrator. Jacob’s father, Jim Freybler, made the final selections. Recipients were required to have served internships in a public-service field, have a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher and show financial need.

♥The award aims to help students who “want to work hard to go to school and need an extra boost to get in,” Jim Freybler said.

“He’s not going to get the opportunity to go to school,” Freybler said of his son. “I want someone to go to school and save a life.”

Jacob died at age 17 in June 2014 when his car crashed head-on with an SUV near Marne. Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies said he had been sending and receiving texts at the time. His father spoke last fall at a distracted-driving program at Kenowa Hills High School, warning students, “Texting takes lives.”

A football game was held last year to raise money for the scholarships with the sale of T-shirts, decals and wristbands. Golf outings and other fundraisers have also contributed to the annual scholarship fund.

Jim Freybler regularly speaks at driver’s education classes and other programs, telling students about the dangers of texting while driving.

“I’m going to reach everybody,” he vowed. “There’s too many out there doing it.”

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Student’s Death Cautions Classmates against Distracted Driving

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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