Remembering Jeremy

04/15/2010 12:00 AM |

Jeremy Hamilton, who succumbed to brain cancer last month, is the namesake for a newly established memorial scholarship to be presented each year to a Greenport High School senior. The fund was started by Greenport’s class of 1993, Mr. Hamilton’s class.

One college-bound Greenport High School graduate will take home the Jeremy Hamilton Memorial Scholarship in June, thanks to Mr. Hamilton’s classmates from 1993 who determined at his wake last month that his spirit would not be forgotten. Mr. Hamilton died March 15 after battling brain cancer for more than six years.

While his classmates have scattered throughout the country, most were able to make it back to their hometown to pay respects to their friend, a tribute to just how close the class has remained, said former class president Samantha Opong, who now works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a very real thing that we buried our classmate and our friend,” she said, vowing with Claudia Ramone of Orient that Mr. Hamilton would be remembered by future generations of Greenport students.

With only a short time to raise at least $1,000 that will go to a senior who demonstrates educational ability, involvement in extra curricular activities and a strong sense of a career objective, class members have organized an auction through www.biddingforgood/jhamiltonscholarship. They are reaching out to merchants and residents to contribute items and gift certificates to be auctioned. People can access the site now, either to contribute items for auction or place bids. Applicants for this year’s scholarship must submit an essay describing themselves, their interests and accomplishments and the goals that are prompting them to pursue a college education. Applications are available at the high school office or by e-mailing [email protected] They must be submitted by May 14 to the guidance office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Ms. Ramone remembers her friend Jeremy as fun-loving and quick to laugh.

“I remember Jeremy just being fearless,” Ms. Opong said. He was always caring and a lot of fun, she said.

Mr. Hamilton’s wife, Lauren, recalled with a smile that her husband’s fun-loving nature and fearlessness weren’t always appreciated by his teachers because his actions didn’t always mesh with their efforts to control their classrooms.

“He would rather be out fishing with his dad” than in the classroom, Ms. Hamilton said.

That fun loving and independent streak continued in the past several years, even while Mr. Hamilton battled cancer, his wife said.

“We just learned together how to live life,” she said. He was determined to provide their son, Matthew, now 7, with as many experiences and memories as he could, she said. Even when money was tight because of his medical costs, he would want to pick up and go places with his family, she said.

He told participants at the 2007 Relay for Life in Southold that he credited the American Cancer Society, which received funds raised by the event with enabling him to receive experimental medical treatments that prolonged his life.

“I believe I wouldn’t be here without this event,” he said at the time.

“He fought like crazy,” said his mother, Joann Hamilton. He insisted on driving himself to doctors’ appointments and on continuing the business he founded, Coastal Plantings in Peconic, refusing to let his illness get him down, she said.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the scholarship,” Joann Hamilton said.

“It just came as such a shock; they’re angels for doing what they’re doing,” she said of her son’s classmates.

For those who would like to contribute to the scholarship fund but not participate in the auction, checks payable to GHS Class of 1993 Jeremy Hamilton Scholarship Fund may be sent to P.O. Box 481, Greenport, NY 11944.

[email protected]

To contribute:

To contribute or bid on items, the auction site is www.biddingforgood/jhamiltonscholarship.

To make a cash contribution, checks payable to GHS Class of 1993 Jeremy Hamilton Scholarship Fund may be mailed to P.O. Box 481, Greenport, NY 11944.