|Father Ryan High School students, from right, Sydney Davis, Logan Holley, Sebastian Figueroa, Christian Hamrick, Andrew Hamrick, and Nick Renfroe were recognized as recipients of the 2016 Kevin Paul Davis Memorial Scholarship last spring. Scholarship recipients must meet certain requirements including writing a brief essay on how they “live life to the fullest.” A fundraiser for the Davis Memorial Scholarship will be held at Father Ryan on Sept. 24.
Sebastian Figueroa, a parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Nashville and senior at Father Ryan High School, is one of many students who have benefitted from the school’s Kevin Paul Davis Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship, which is named after deceased 2009 Father Ryan graduate Kevin Davis, has been awarded since May 2013 by Kevin’s dad, Father Ryan principal Paul Davis, his mother Teresa, and brother Philip.
“Winning this scholarship has meant a lot to me and my family,” Figueroa said. “We live comfortably, but have had to make sacrifices for me to attend school at Father Ryan. Having this extra bit of help goes a long way and we’re very grateful.”
Other 2016 Kevin Davis Scholarship winners were: Sydney Davis, Logan Holley and twin brothers Andrew and Christian Hamrick.
Kevin Davis was killed in a moped accident in March 2012 during a spring break trip to Mexico. Since then, the Davis family has awarded the scholarship to one or more students who exemplify characteristics of Kevin and need the money to continue their education at Father Ryan. Applicants must be rising seniors, have at least a 3.0 grade average, have participated in the Nashville diocese’s SEARCH and/or Youth Leadership Workshop programs, done service hours above and beyond what is expected of a Father Ryan student, and been active participants in their school and local communities.
Since Kevin is most remembered for his ability to live life to the fullest, applicants must also write a brief essay about their personal definitions of living life to the fullest. A committee of Kevin’s family and closest friends have a blind reading of the essays to select the scholarship winners.
“My take on living life to the fullest is that you haven’t really lived until you’ve changed someone else’s life for the better,” said Figueroa, a four-year football player, a member of Father Ryan’s Spanish Honor Society, SEARCH participant and volunteer at the Little Pantry That Could food bank.
“It gets emotional for me sometimes when I help out at the Little Pantry That Could, helping low income people feed themselves and their families,” Figueroa said. “I listen as clients share their struggles with me and I try to offer them support and encouragement. For me, living life to the fullest is about serving others and standing in solidarity with those who are less fortunate.”
Andrew Hamrick, who is a parishioner at St. Edward Church, SEARCH participant and leader, Room in the Inn volunteer, and Melchizedek Project priesthood discernment group member, agrees. “Throughout my life, I’ve felt God calling me to serve others,” he said. “For a long time, I wanted to join the Navy. But lately, I’ve been considering that calling on a spiritual level, that maybe I’ll be a priest someday. Living life to the fullest is about giving yourself to something beyond yourself and being a role model for others.”
This year, the Davis family is hosting the fourth annual Raise Your Glass Fundraiser, which supports the Kevin Davis Memorial Scholarship so students like Figueroa, the Hamrick brothers, Sydney Davis, and Holley can continue their Father Ryan education. It will be held in the Father Ryan Dining Hall 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.
Mike and Barbara Barrett hosted the first Raise Your Glass benefit at their home in 2013. “This was originally the Barrett family’s idea,” Teresa Davis said. “They made everything happen for us that first year, and we’re continuing a tradition they started.”
Every year, Father Ryan alumni play a significant role in putting the event on, offering musical entertainment as well as food and wine and beer tastings. Father Ryan English teacher and alum Randy Lancaster will provide the music this year. Food, beer, and wine vendors include Pedestal Foods from alum Britt Hunt, Jackalope Brewery from 1969 grad Jimmy Wilson, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken from 2000 alumni Nick and Sarah Bishop, Judge Bean’s BBQ from 2009 alum Nick Anneken.
Raise Your Glass incorporates many traditions that have helped the Davis family cope with Kevin’s passing. One such tradition, and the centerpiece of every Raise Your Glass fundraiser, is a sky lantern launch. Olivia Chan, a friend of the Davises whose father is from Hong Kong, introduced them to this ancient custom practiced during China’s Ghost Festival to honor the dead. Since Kevin’s death, the Davis family has made this tradition their own, and have one at every special occasion and celebration where his loss is felt most acutely. At Raise Your Glass, before the lanterns are launched, they encourage attendees to pray for their own loved ones who have died.
Teresa Davis encourages everyone in the diocese to attend Raise Your Glass. “We had almost 350 people come last year, and we’re hoping to have at least that many this year, if not more,” she said. “It is a gift for so many hearts to assist students in need who wish to experience all that Father Ryan has to offer. We are extremely humbled by past and continued support.”
Sydney Davis agrees. “My family has been friends with the Davis family for a while now, and they’ve been there for us through a lot. For them to honor their son’s memory by helping students at Father Ryan is awesome.”
Those wanting to attend Raise Your Glass can RSVP to Teresa Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to RSVP is Sept. 19. To donate to the Kevin Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund, visit
and specify the donation is in memory of Kevin Davis.