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South Valley Journal

Bingham Student Receives Sterling Scholar For Her ‘Grave’ Efforts

May 08, 2015 11:03PM ● By Aimee L Cook
Stephanie Jencks, a senior at Bingham High School, was recently awarded the Douglas F. Bates Community Service Award. Photo courtesy of Bingham High School

Bingham High School senior, Stephanie Jencks, was recently awarded the Douglas F. Bates Community Service Award. She is Sterling Scholar for her continued service and fundraising efforts to benefit the Bingham Cemetery.  According to Stephanie, Jordan School District inherited the cemetery in 1971 and due to the districts focus on education and not cemetery maintenance, Stephanie has given her time and nearly $30,000 for the memorial. 

“I spent Memorial Day weekend the last 10 years helping reconstruct lost records, along with beautifying the environment of the historic Bingham City Cemetery, which is owned by Jordan School District,” Stephanie said. “While giving education and service tours of the cemetery, I observed people shake their heads as they saw rows and rows of rusty unreadable metal markers, but nobody did anything about it - until I found someone had tossed an unreadable grave marker into the trash can.”  

Stephanie led the charge and rallied many youth groups and organizations to come together and mark graves that had no identification. 

“Last year as part of my Girl Scout Gold project and as VP of Bingham SkillsUSA, more than 200 volunteers united with me in a project I led and organized entitled ‘Unknown But Loved’,” Stephanie said. “Volunteers from Bingham High, SkillsUSA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, church friends and teachers made, by hand, 130 granite/cement headstones to mark the unknown graves. This past year I lugged my sample ‘Unknown But Loved’ headstone, a rusty metal marker, and gave presentations to many businesses, and personally raised and delivered $30,000 to Jordan School District to erect an information memorial. As a high school cosmetology student, I was not afraid to get a little dirt under my nails for a service I plan to be involved in until I am buried at that cemetery. Now 30 nations, veterans of six wars, fallen police officers and everyone will receive the permanent and proper respect that they deserve, not just currently, but for generations to come.”