AURORA – In April, Waubonsie Valley student athlete Ryan DiGrazia was presented with the Matthew Martin Memorial Scholarship. Matthew, a member of the Class of 2023, unexpectedly passed away last year due to rare congenital heart defects. The scholarship is part of a foundation that is dedicated to honoring Matthew’s memory.
“We wanted to do something to give back to the community that was so supportive to us during that time,” said Shaun Martin, Matthew’s father. “We did some small fundraising through friends who made donations to us. We created two scholarships, one for his travel baseball team, the Naperville Renegades, and one for a Waubonsie senior as a college scholarship.”
“Matthew was also able to be a tissue donor. So the end of the story didn’t end in tragedy. Matthew succumbed to his cardiac conditions, but there was an ‘and.’ He was also able to enhance the lives of 15 people across the globe, and it was the same thing with creating those scholarships, just creating that lasting legacy.”
“We’re working with Coach Ace and the administration to upgrade the press box hopefully some day as well. We don’t live too far from here. I walk my dog past this baseball field all the time, and I’d love nothing more to be able to walk by and see his name on there someday.”
“He loved all sports, but he really fell in love at an early age with baseball. He started playing travel at 7, and I was really fortunate to be able to coach him all the way up through 15U. He was a kid who loved video games, shoes, you know, you’re stereotypical 15 year-old boy.
He was absolutely so proud to be a member of Waubonsie’s freshmen team, and unfortunately, it was cut short due to COVID, and was never able to take the field. For Waubonsie Valley for us, it was so special. He was beaming ear to ear when he came home with his jersey the day that he found out he made the team. So, it was a no-brainer for us to partner with the school and the team to continue to extend that and keep his name out there.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit matthewmartinfoundation.org.