Drew’s life, though short, is celebrated for the courage and spirit he shared with family, friends, co-workers and readers.
From his early days at Dixie Canyon Elementary School, through Millikan Jr. High and Grant High School in Los Angeles, he is remembered by teachers and classmates as an outstanding basketball and tennis player, a clarinetist in the school band, a volunteer coach for Special Olympics and a hard-working student who had high academic goals and strived for excellence in everything he did.
He enrolled at Stanford University as an American Studies Major.
Drew was also a lover of the outdoors from his early experiences camping with the Indian Guides and his family in National Parks. The family’s three-month Volkswagen trip through Europe, when he was 10 sparked his lifelong love of travel and adventure.
In college Drew worked at Grand Teton National Park one summer and planned river raft, backpack trips and Mexican biking and kayak adventures with his friends. When Drew graduated from Stanford, he trekked through Asia, Africa and Europe for six months before going to the University of Vermont Medical School.
He realized after his travel experiences and a successful year of medical school that what he really wanted to be was a writer. He returned to California and earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. After a brief internship with the L.A. Herald Examiner, he was hired as an education reporter for The San Diego Union.
At 34, Drew began his battle with brain cancer. During his treatment, he continued his work and wrote a prize winning series of articles for the paper entitled “Living with Cancer”. His journal was a celebration of life and ultimate acceptance of death at 37.
Karen Winner, the Editor of the paper at the time of his death, wrote of Drew, “When you began battling for your life, you didn’t retreat. On the contrary, you found words to describe your greatest struggle. Thank you for taking us on your brave and very personal journey, for strengthening us when your energy was waning, for telling us it was O.K. to be frightened, to be angry when life takes unfair turns, to let people know you care about them, to ask for help, to feel sad, to find humor in the darkness, to laugh, to cry. Our own journeys will be easier, thanks to you”.
Drew died June 12, 1997. His ashes were scattered in Kings’ Canyon National Park.
It is hoped that the recipient of this scholarship will be inspired by Drew Silvern’s life and will as he did, strive for excellence and face life’s challenges with courage and compassion.
For more information about scholarship awards please visit Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars, a program of Scholarhip America.