TAMPA - The artwork on display at Hillsborough Community College from now until the month of April was created by the most talented students in Hillsborough County. For the past 12 years, the school has held an annual competition.
Last year, at the urging of friends, Colonel Parker Schenecker attended the event. Dr. Adrienne Garcia, who is instrumental in fund raising and scholarships, said Colonel Schenecker was so moved he contacted her about setting up a fund.
"He saw all these talented people, their loving families and the excitement about their creativity and the work they had done. He felt that this is something that Calyx would have done had she been here," Dr. Garcia explained.
Calyx, a 16 year old sophomore at King High School, loved to paint. Two pieces on this year's invitation are her father's favorite. And now the event Colonel Schenecker felt his daughter would have embraced, bears her name, The Calyx Schencker Art Infinitum.
"We feel that he is trusting us at the college in helping get the story out about his daughter," said Dr. Garcia. "That is an honor and a privilege to be a part of it."
So many heard the colonels tearful plea at his children's funeral last year: "Please do not forget how they lived," the colonel had said.
Dr. Garcia and the gallery's director Kathy Gibson said Colonel Schenecker feels he will be able to do that through the competition.
Gibson said some of Calyx's pieces will fill a wall that is currently blank. She has seen all of Calyx's works, well over a hundred, but she and the colonel decided to display only about four or five this year, for good reason.
"As Parker has said, we have years ahead of us. So we have work that we can continue to input each year so we don't want to blow it all the same year. We may want to save some exciting this for next year and the year after that," said Gibson.
Nine scholarships ranging from 500 to 100 dollars will be given to aspiring art students. Some money coming from the colonel's fund he established and some from the school's foundation. Gibson and Garcia said knowing, this is just a beginning, in honoring Calyx has been a priceless gift to her father.
"And having the endowment go through infinity, as he would say, it really celebrates her," said Gibson.
The colonel also wants to honor his 13-year-old son Beaux, but has not found the right venue yet.
The children's mother, Julie Schenecker remains behind bars. She was arrested last January after allegedly confessing to shooting both her kids in their home.