By Ethen Meyer
At graduation ceremony for the class of 2019, there was one student who was not in attendance: Hailey Bucknell. Hailey was killed in a fatal car accident on June 26, 2005. In her honor, her family established a scholarship to be awarded to one male and female student from the Union High School class of 2019.
Hailey’s mother, Jamie Trebon, is 37 years old and has lived in La Porte City for most of her life. Trebon lost both her first husband and child in the accident of 2005. Today, she is remarried, but the years can never erase the loss she has endured.
“I have four kids, and one of them is in heaven,” Trebon said. Hailey had long curly hair and big brown eyes. She was said to not have a mean bone in her body and was always laughing and smiling.
Sydney Bucknell is the late Hailey’s younger sister. A sophomore at UHS, Bucknell spoke about her sister’s memory and presented the scholarships on Sunday, May 19 for the class of 2019’s commencement ceremony. Megan Carty and Carter Asmussen, both from Dysart, were selected as recipients for the Hailey Bucknell scholarship.
In creating the scholarship for Hailey, Trebon and her family put a lot of time and effort into the questions. They intended to find recipients who embodied what they would have wanted for Hailey as a graduate.
“The questions to the scholarships were very personable; we wanted to know them as a person, because we knew how Hailey would’ve been. So we wanted to make sure, whoever received the scholarship in her honor, that they would have been somebody like her,” Trebon said.
Trebon’s mother, Dawn Hendershot, said that she was very proud of both her daughter and Sydney for going up to present the scholarships. Hendershot said she could tell it was hard for them because it [the scholarship presentation] wasn’t for a good reason. It was particularly hard for Trebon as a mother.
“That it shouldn’t be me standing on that stage, giving something in her memory. It should have been her receiving a scholarship. I started tearing up as soon as I hit the stairs. And we were hoping everyone would go slower. But they weren’t. And time just kept on tickin’. So I was telling myself to breathe. And it was hard, but it had to be done,” Trebon said. She feels confident in Carty and Asmussen to use the scholarships wisely to fulfill their dreams for their future careers.
Sydney, Hailey’s younger sister, has had to cope with navigating the ups and downs of school without her big sister. The two were close when they were little.
“She has told me the older she gets, the harder it gets. And I understand, because at a young age you don’t really understand the whole loss of somebody. But the older she gets, she’s missing what would’ve been her best friend. So she will never have that relationship,” Trebon said.
At the class of 2019 commencement, the seniors carried a white flower in Hailey’s honor as they walked to their seats. There was one chair left open for Hailey, between Asmussen and Carty. Upon it lay a cap and gown and a picture of Hailey Bucknell.