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COLUMBIA - The Elizabeth J. Upton Foundation is holding an event to raise money for it’s first scholarship opportunity for high school students.

The scholarship will go to students from 15 through 18  to experience a rotary program, which is a chance for students from the U.S. and another country to experience each other's culture.  

Upton’s mother, Marilyn Upton, said her daughter loved this program and it was one of the best experiences of her life.

“She went her junior year of high school and she came back bilingual and said it was the greatest time of her life,” Upton said.

Her daughter was killed in a car accident three years ago and she said she didn’t want people to do memorials. Instead, she wanted to celebrate what her daughter loved the most, which was the rotary program.

A family friend and manager of Hoss’s Market and Rotisserie, Trish Koetting, said she was happy to open her doors for the event to happen on Sunday.

“It’s a way to celebrate Elizabeth;s life with something that was near and dear to her, the rotary exchange program. So it’s the one Sunday out of the year that we open to celebrate Elizabeth,” she said.

“When people wanted to do memorials we said we would take donations for the rotary student exchange program,” she said.

Her and her husband wanted to create this foundation to help students who can’t afford to experience traveling around the world.

She also said when the student travels through the rotary program, they  live with three different host families. Once a student from the U.S. leaves to another country, a student from that country gets to live in the U.S.

16 students will get to go abroad and seven of them will be going to those who need financial help.

Belgium, Sweden, France, Japan, Twain, Thailand, Denmark are some of the countries students get to travel to.

Upton said the program has given her lifelong relationships.

“Her host parents in France, we are very close to them and they are going to come visit us this summer and we have been back to see them. You get a really strong relationship,” she said.

She says if her daughter was her she would be proud of what her parents are doing.

“She would love it. She had a super big heart.,” Upton said.

Koetting said there will be mimosas, orange juice, and a variety of toppings to put on the crêpes.

Hoss’s Market and Rotisserie are holding the event form 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sunday.

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