Reflections on the Javier Niño Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Javier Niño Memorial Scholarship Fund at Austin Classical Guitar exists to honor the memory of a wonderful young man who brought joy through beauty and kindness to countless people during his lifetime, and to support young classical guitarists in Austin, Texas—through scholarship lessons and other means—who show great promise and who will benefit from access to expert instruction and mentorship.

As we come up on the first anniversary of Javier's passing, ACG is dedicating this year’s Amplify Austin campaign to this scholarship fund. We are hoping to raise the money necessary for the Javier Niño Memorial Scholarship Fund to become self-sustaining, ensuring that Javi's legacy will be carried forward by other talented young musicians in our community for years to come.

In this interview, Jess Griggs talks with Diane Skeel. The mother of one of Javier's friends and the amazing individual that started the Javier Niño Memorial Scholarship fund. 

Jess: How did you know Javier Niño? 

Diane: I met Javi because he and my son were both in the Classical Guitar program at McCallum High School. They met in English class as sophomores, when they were both new transfers into the Fine Arts Academy. Later, as they became better friends, my son would frequently talk about Javi at the dinner table.  I felt like I knew him, even though we had never met. During their senior year, I took their quartet to Mary Hardin-Baylor for a coaching session with Joe Williams. I had the opportunity to talk with Javi on that trip, and I instantly knew why Aaron thought so highly of him. I had one more chance to talk to him, in depth, later that year. We talked about the things he loved, like guitar, computers, and his friends. He  told me how happy he was for my son, having been accepted to the UT Classical Guitar program. I could hear, in his voice, how genuinely proud he was. 

Jess: What inspired you to start the scholarship in memory of Javier Niño?

Diane: Javi was an important friend of my son's, and they met because of their shared interest and talent in classical guitar. I was devastated by the news of his death, and I wanted to make something positive out of something so tragic. I couldn't imagine a better way than this scholarship.

Jess: Who do you hope to impact and help with the scholarship?

I want to honor Javi's memory by helping others, who like Javi, love classical guitar, and are interested in pursuing education beyond high school. Like Javi, they don't need to be interested in majoring in classical guitar. I want the recipients to reflect what made Javi a very special young man.

Jess: Why is the Javier Niño scholarship important to the Austin community?

Diane: It honors the memory of a remarkable young man, who, through classical guitar, hard work and determination, was able to make opportunities to create a better future for himself. And, by honoring his memory with this scholarship, we can help create opportunities for others like him.

Jess: What is your hope for the longevity of this scholarship?

Diane: I would love for this scholarship to outlive me, and to create opportunities for students for as long as  Austin Classical Guitar is part of our community.

Jess: Would you like to add anything?

Diane: I am so grateful that Austin Classical Guitar is dedicating the money raised during this year's Amplify Austin to the scholarship fund. If enough money is raised, I would love to be able to provide the recipients with a nice guitar, and maybe even some scholarship money for their future education pursuits.

If you would like to learn more about the Memorial Fund you can find that information here. Additionally, if you would like to contribute to the to the longevity of the scholarship, you can give via Austin Classical Guitar's Amplify Austin website