Beauty out of Grief: Tanner Jeans Foundation Awards UW Scholarships, Changes Lives of Two Mount Si Seniors

Seven years was all the time she got with her oldest son, but according to Christen Jeans, it is possible to create beauty out of grief; wake up every day and see the endless possibilities in your life.

Some of that beauty was created Friday, April 17, 2015, when two University of Washington scholarships were awarded to members of Tanner Jean’s graduating class in his honor, nearly eleven years after the first grader was tragically lost in a bike accident on his quiet Snoqualmie street.

For over a decade Christen Jeans has been connected to the foundation that bears her late son’s name: The Tanner Jeans Foundation, which was created by friends as a way to honor Tanner’s spirit and funded by the overwhelming generosity of the Snoqualmie Valley.

For a decade the foundation has sponsored the biggest bike safety rodeo in the Pacific Northwest, along with raising funds for the two four-year, full tuition scholarships, which this fall will send the recipients to Brian and Christen’s alma mater, the University of Washington – along with a little bit of the spirit of an active, bright-eyed boy whose life was cut short in June 2004.

Last Friday, in a small, surprise ceremony inside Principal Belcher’s office, Christen, Brian and son Hayden, along with the tj2foundation’s Board of Directors, awarded Mount Si High School seniors, Nicki Mostofi and Sean Hyland the Tanner Jeans Memorial Scholarships.

Both students were brought to tears – happy, grateful and gracious way beyond their years. Through his tears Sean said, “You just changed my life.” Friends of Nicki said she was still crying when she returned to Spanish class after learning about her scholarship.

Sean and Nicki both completed a rigorous scholarship application process, which was open to members of the Mount Si and Two Rivers High Schools Class of 2015, and were chosen by an independent review board from the Si View Metropolitan Parks District, which carefully examined 26 applications.

Both Nicki and Sean will start at the University of Washington in September. Nicki plans to study Pharmacy with a minor in Spanish. Sean isn’t 100% set on a major yet, but his mom says he’s leaning toward business, engineering or chemistry. Sean and Nicki have exceptional grade point averages (both almost perfect 4.0’s), college admission test scores and extensive community and high school participation.

Sean, the oldest of two sons, was receiver and defensive back on the MSHS football team, as well as a record-setting track team member. He is also ASB Treasurer, owns his own lawn care business, is a frequent volunteer at the Mt Si Food Bank and received the highest academic honors at Mount Si since his freshman year. His father, a teacher at Skyline High School, earned his teaching certificate at the University of Washington and his mother is also currently pursuing her teaching degree at UW.

Nicki, the oldest of six children, is a four-year member of the Mount Si High School Cheerleading Squad, as well as captain of the competitive Cheer Team. She also provides tutoring services to Snoqualmie Valley students, is an active volunteer at the annual Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation-Snoqualmie Police Department Annual Bike Safety Rodeo and an academic honor recipient. Nicki will be a third generation University of Washington student, following her dad, uncle and grandpa.

Christen described the last 11 years as a journey – and presenting Nicki and Sean with UW scholarships in Tanner’s honor as kind of the end to that journey.  She said she will always grieve Tanner and is ready to send these two amazing, hard-working Mount Si students on their college way as a tribute to her son, who would have graduated alongside them on June 12, 2015.

Thank you to the whole Jeans family and the TJMF for letting me witness a moment of happiness that was many years in the making.

To Nicki and Sean, you are both very kind, hard-working, deserving people. Best of luck in your new journeys.

Left to right: Hayden Jeans, Christen Jeans, Nicki Mostofi, Sean Hyland, Brian Jeans
Left to right: Hayden Jeans, Christen Jeans, Nicki Mostofi, Sean Hyland, Brian Jeans


The Tanner Jeans Memorial Scholarship recipients were selected based on selected criteria, to include, but not be limited to:  participation in community and high school or extra-curricular sports activities; character recommendations from teachers, coaches and counselors; the applicant’s own written statement as to their reasons for applying and their ability to represent Tanner’s legacy at the UW; financial need; grade point average and admission test scores.

Tanner Jeans
Tanner Jeans
Tanner Jeans
Tanner Jeans

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