DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Darrin Hightower and his non-profit organization Darrin’s Kids 2 established the Derric Hightower, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

The full tuition scholarship will be awarded each year to a kindergarten student in financial need at Schlarman Academy.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for our school and students,” said Janet Picillo, who serves as the Advancement Director at Schlarman Academy. “Derric loved working with children and worked to see that all children were treated equally and fairly.”

After graduating from Danville High School in 1998, Derric Hightower, Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Army. Upon returning to Danville in 2001, Hightower enrolled at Danville Area Community College where he earned an Associates Degree in early childhood education.

He then began working at Elite Learning Center in St. Joseph in 2006, where he became the Executive Director in 2017.

“We are honored that Darrin and his non-profit have chosen to memorialize his late cousin by providing this wonderful gift for a Schlarman student,” Picillo said. “I hope this scholarship can help as many students and families as possible in the years to come.”