New Scholarship Created to Honor the Legacy of Students Lost to Car Crash

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Foundation is establishing a new endowed scholarship to honor the memories of three former students who were victims of a fatal Nov. 2021 car crash.

The Hali Coss, Lily Dufrene and Michaila Bowling Memorial Endowed Scholarship is designed to help students just like them. The scholarship will be awarded to female graduates of Hahnville High School who are enrolled at Nicholls full time as a nursing or allied health major. Recipients can be freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors and will receive a $1,000 scholarship broken down into two $500 per semester awards. 

“Our girls will be remembered and that is something we all want and it’s very important to us,” the parents of Coss, Bowling and Dufrene said in a joint statement. “They never got a chance to make their mark on the world, but their names will live on forever with this scholarship. We are grateful for the support we have received from Nicholls and the community.” 

On Nov. 20, 2021, the three friends were on their way home from a birthday dinner when their car was struck by a drunk driver. The idea for the scholarship originated from Paige Bartolo and Madelyn Coss, who wanted a way to remember the friends and family they lost. 

“This helps keep the girls’ memories alive. They may be gone, but they will not be forgotten,” Madelyn said. “I think they would be proud of this. Even though they only lived on this Earth for a short while, they will always be around through this scholarship. Their names will always be at Nicholls.” 

“This scholarship means that we can give back to somebody who really wants to go to college in nursing or allied health but needs financial help to get there or just to keep going,” Bartolo added. “The girls all got scholarships, and I know that helped them out a lot. I wish we could do more, but this way we can make a difference for someone else and help spread awareness and keep their memories alive.” 

The university has also inscribed their names into bricks surrounding the eternal flame. 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” said Dr. Raquel Engolio, nursing department head. “It is not often that we can contribute to something that will live on with a positive legacy for generations to come. It feels incredible to help contribute to their memories.” 

Nicholls Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Becker said the university has had a strong start in raising money for the endowed scholarship, led by the girls’ family and friends. However, they have not yet met their goal.  Contributions from the community are welcome to help grow the scholarship to its full potential.

“This scholarship is going to honor these three girls for as long as Nicholls State University exists,” he said. “Their names will now be able to help recruit future students to come to Nicholls to our prestigious nursing and allied health programs, and live out the futures these girls would have.” 

To support this scholarship, use the Donate Now option at and mention the girls’ name in the comments section when making a gift or contact Becker at 985-448-4006.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 22, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

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