The parents of one of two young women murdered in Montgomery County in June have established the Sarah Janine Cleary and Michael Griffin Cleary Criminal Justice Endowed Scholarship at Sam Houston State University.
Sarah Cleary and her friend, Misty Morgan, were murdered on June 8, 1997. There has been no arrest in the case.
The scholarship also honors Sarah's brother, Michael, a senior criminal justice major at Sam Houston State who is scheduled to graduate in December.
James H. and Joyce R. Triplett of Houston established the endowment with a $20,048.45 gift to the university, which included a donation of $15,000 from the family and $5,048.45 in gifts in honor of Sarah's memory from friends and relatives. Additional contributions have been received since establishment of the endowment.
The fund is expected to provide a $1,000 scholarship annually, divided into two $500 increments for the fall and spring semesters. The first award is expected in the fall semester of 1998.
The Tripletts asked that students from Westfield High School be given preferential consideration in awarding the scholarship each year and that the first recipient be a freshman. Students who receive subsequent scholarships may be at the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior levels, and may receive it more than once.
Sarah Janine Cleary was a 1997 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Westfield High School and the recipient of a scholastic scholarship to Louisiana State University's Honors Program.
In a statement which accompanies the scholarship agreement, to be attached to each application form, the Tripletts expressed their feelings about their daughter, her death, and what they hope the scholarship will achieve.
"Sarah was a very kind, loving, free-spirited, Christian who was excited about her life and future," the Tripletts said in their statement. "She was an exceptionally bright, multi talented individual, who craved learning and academic achievement and recognition as an intelligent, versatile individual. Sarah was very strong minded and very committed to the principles she believed in. She was the love and joy of our lives.
"This scholarship was established to keep Sarah's memory alive. We are also hopeful that each recipient will take her/his education as seriously as Sarah did and will dedicate her/his life to making this world a safer place in which to live.
"We hope that our efforts in establishing this scholarship will not only keep Sarah's memory alive but will also prevent others from experiencing the painful loss we feel for our loving daughter Sarah."
Contributions to the endowed scholarship may be sent to the Sam Houston State University Advancement Office, P. O. Box 2537, Huntsville, TX 77341-2537.