It has been six months since 16-year-old Schuyler Jones was killed at Market Square in Old Town Alexandria and this past Sunday, his family and friends christened a boat that will serve as a memorial to him.
The Alexandria Crew Boosters purchased the 57-foot, 9-inch Vespoli M2 8 shell earlier this year at the urging of Schuyler’s T. C. Williams crew team members. “The idea for this boat came from the kids,” said Dan Shipp, the president of the Crew Boosters.
The idea may have come from the students, but T. C. Principal John Porter gave it impetus. “Find a way to honor Schuyler’s memory,” he told everyone at a memorial service for Schuyler just one week after the teenager’s death. “Buy the boat.”
And they did with a lot of help from a lot of people. More than 200 individuals and organizations sent contributions. “Crew Boosters set up a fund but the contributions came without being solicited,” Shipp said.
They came from crew booster clubs at West Springfield High School, Lake Braddock High School, Bishop Ireton High School, Thomas Jefferson High School and from the school communities at Episcopal High School, St. Stephen's School and West Potomac High School. Contributions covered the $25,000 cost of the shell, which will be used by the men’s varsity rowers at T. C.
“Last fall, at the church not too far from here, we gathered to remember Schuyler’s life,” said Tracy Hallingsworth, Schuyler’s mother, at Sunday’s ceremony. “Today, we look to the future and the many students who will row in this boat…”
Schuyler followed in his older brother and sister’s footsteps as a member of the T. C. crew team. He made the varsity team as a sophomore and was considered a rising young star in the sport. “Now, the boat that bears his name will keep him forever on the water with his teammates,” Shipp said.