The parents of a middle school girl who committed suicide in 2008 are helping her live on by providing scholarships and instruments for aspiring musicians.
Scott Marvin and his wife Jane began the Devon Marvin Music Foundation in memory of their daughter.
Devon "was a beautiful musician, pianist and violinist, she'd been playing since she was 5," Scott Marvin said.
The foundation started small, by rebuilding the stage at Diablo Vista Middle School, where Devon played and practiced.
"After that, we decided to do scholarships," he continued. "Every year we do a minimum of three. Last year we did five and this year we did six."
Those scholarships are for a full week, with room and board, at the University of the Pacific Music Camp in Stockton. This year 27 students applied for the scholarships, and the Marvins hope to double that next year.
"A large part of the decision is made from the one-page essay they write of why they feel they are a good choice. We are looking for dedicated, passionate and committed musicians," Scott said. "We also try to read into the essay and look for students that may also 'pay it forward' when they have the chance."
Jesse Chen, an eighth-grader, wrote that he'd been studying piano for more than eight years and has been a percussionist for five.
"Music is very important to me and I would feel incomplete if suddenly it was unable to be a part of my life," he wrote. "To me, music isn't just a bunch of sounds formed together, but a language that can express, many times better than in words, how one thinks and feels."
Seventh-grader Bailey Manego quoted pop singer Ne-Yo, saying, "Music is the blood running through my veins."
A pianist and violinist, Manego said music "makes everyone feel enlightened and it just brings people to a state of happiness."
But providing scholarships isn't enough for the Marvin family. Scott also arranges repairs for damaged instruments so the music department can spend its money on other things, such as sheet music.
At the Monte Vista Keynoters auction this year, the Devon Marvin Music Foundation offered a dollar-to-dollar match, raised more money than ever, and bough five instruments worth approximately $12,000.
After a discussion with Chavonta Edington, Diablo Valley's music director, the Marvins bought a collection of instruments not usually found in middle school programs because of their cost or because they're difficult to play: two bassoons, an oboe, a euphonium, two single French horns and a double French horn, a baritone horn, a 3/4 concert tuba and four trombones -- two bass trombones and two f-valve trombones.
The new instruments were unveiled at a recent Diablo Valley Middle School concert.
"Everybody was ecstatic was about it when we came out. The kids were jumping up and down, out of their seats," Scott said. "They'll get to try instruments they wouldn't ordinarily have."
The winners of this year's scholarships were also announced at recent concerts. They are Nicholas Henderson, Anna Delsoffe and Manego, who attended junior high camp; Jonathan Lee, who went to high school camp; Chase Bergstad, who attended jazz camp; and Chen, who went to senior camp.
Scott Marvin said they hope to eventually expand their program to another middle school.
The Marvin family is accepting contributions through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Checks should be made payable to the foundation, with "The Devon Marvin Music Foundation, No. 4166" in the in the memo line. Credit card donations are also being accepted through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation offices at (650) 450-5444.
The family has committed to sending at least three students to music camps in Devon's name "for as long as we can."
"We do this to help us with our pain and sadness," Scott said, "and to give other children an opportunity to do what we would have done for her."