‘Julia’s always going to be with us’: Scholarship fund launched for teen killed in boat accident

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Molly McEvoy and Amy Cabot may not be related to Julia Budzinski by blood, but to them, there’s no question that this tenacious teen was family.

“She had such a passion for life,” McEvoy said.

“We’ve just been around to see Julia growing up,” Cabot said. “She had a smile that would just be laid up, and you saw that and everything that she did.”

In the days since the 17-year-old Glen Allen High School student’s tragic passing in a boating accident on the James River, McEvoy and Cabot say the family has felt an incredible outpouring of support. The duo has known Julia’s parents Mark and Monica, since their college days and watched as Julia grew up into a young woman who they say shined yet never wanted the spotlight.

“She wanted to lift up everyone around her. She wanted them to shine,” Cabot said. “In her striving to be better it so that everybody could be better.”

But as tragic as the passing of this three-sport athlete who excelled on the court, the field, the classroom, and socially, McEvoy says finding a way to honor the life of someone who gave so much of herself was essential.

“I think that was a family core value to give back of your time and energy. Whatever you could, and I think Julia embodied that. And I think the response we’ve seen from the community is just that,” McEvoy said.

That’s why with the help of the Henrico Education Foundation, Julia’s parents are making sure her legacy continues with the inception of the Julia Budzinski Scholarship Fund, which aims to support the students and the community of Glen Allen High School and beyond.

“Monica and Mark just believe in education and believe in giving back, and if Julia can continue to have an impact and change somebody else’s life, and Julia is always going to be here with us,” Amy Cabot said.

Though this memorial was fund born from strife, McEvoy says it will ensure that Julia’s life can continue to shine through others.

“We have an opportunity to memorialize a really amazing person here.”

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