When Deerdra Schlickeisen was asked to come into Academy High School a day early this fall, she had no idea why.
The reason turned out to be a potentially life-changing gift for the high school junior.
Schlickeisen learned that she was selected to receive a full scholarship to attend the Texas Bioscience Institute Middle College program offered by Temple College. The program gives highly motivated high school students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in STEM–focused courses during their junior and senior years.
Schlickeisen was one of 23 students from Academy ISD who learned they will receive at least one fully funded class a semester at Temple College this year thanks to a scholarship fund set up in memory of their late classmate, Aiden Martin.
Aiden Martin died in September 2018 from injuries he received in an all-terrain vehicle accident. At the time, he was 14 years old and in the 8th grade at Academy ISD.
After Aiden’s death, Temple businessman Kenny Martin announced he would offer 25 scholarships a year to students in Aiden’s class who would like to take dual credit classes at Temple College. Kenny Martin was not related to Aiden, but is a close friend of his family.
“I watched Aiden grow up,” Martin said. “I wanted his class to remember him.”
Kenny Martin’s family has a long history of supporting Temple College students. The college’s Dell Martin Nursing Education Center is named in honor of his father.
Schlickeisen said she remembers being told about the scholarships the last day of 8th grade, but had totally forgotten about it.
“I was really shocked when they told us,” she said.
Several other students in Schlickeisen’s class are using the scholarships to fund their participation in the TBI program. The remainder will be taking regular dual credit courses from Temple College.
Schlickeisen said she applied for the TBI program because if offers students the opportunity to earn an associate degree from Temple College while they are still in high school.
“I definitely want to get a head start,” she said. “It will help so much more in the long run.”
In addition to Schlickeisen, the 2021 recipients of the Aiden Martin scholarship are Samantha Bankhead, Raven Barker, Jake Bartnick, Anna Jo Bundy, Riley Chaffer, Payten Conde, Eli Drennan, Parker Fossett, Camryn Garmon, Alexander Hoffman, Joseph Hutchison, Clayton Lawson, Alexander Lawton, Victoria Lewis, Noah Magnia, Kaidynce Patton, Mackenzie Peters, Amelia Powell, Caitlyn Reimer, Kaylie Sefcik, Marlee Taggart, Corbin VanWagenen and Rhea White.
Schlickeisen was not a close friend of Aiden Martin’s, but she remembers playing in the band with him.
“I will do my best to carry on the legacy for Aiden,” she said.