Fort Fairfield High Scholl is accepting donations for the Rose Elmer Memorial Scholarship to continue her legacy after her passing from a fire at her home on 85 Riverside Ave. Credit: Paul Bagnall / The Star-Herald

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — It didn’t take long for Rose Elmer’s high school classmates to find a way to honor their friend, who died along with her parents in a house fire earlier this month. Only one member of the family, Elmer’s younger brother, survived.

Elmer wanted to become a fashion designer and was beginning to pursue that goal shortly after graduation last spring, according to Emma Kilcollins, president of Fort Fairfield’s Class of 2023. 

The Class of 2023 is currently collecting donations for the Rose Elmer Memorial Scholarship, according to a letter posted to the Fort Fairfield Fire Department’s Facebook page. The amount of the scholarship will depend on the donations received. The class plans on continuing the scholarship for many years, Kilcollins said.

“[Elmer] was the first person in our class that we lost just a few months after graduation and after all of us splitting up for the first time ever,” Kilcollins said. “We wanted to come together and show support for her younger brother and their whole family.”

After they found out about Elmer’s death, her classmates got together via SnapChat, and the idea of a scholarship in Rose’s name was solidified within a few hours. The group is working with the Maine Community Foundation with at least $1,000 to start it, Kilcollins said. The scholarship will go to one recipient.

“I ended up talking with our school superintendent, Mrs. Staples, and then the principal, Mr. Martin, to figure out how we could go about that,” Kilcollins said.

The scholarship will honor Elmer’s love and dedication for school, and will be awarded to women going into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or the arts. The full details are still being put together.

“I took a lot of classes with Rose in high school and she was very dedicated to a lot of her studies,” said Marissa Giberson, vice president of Fort Fairfield Class of 2023. “She was pretty close to the top of the class.”

Elmer was described by both Kilcollins and Giberson as shy and reserved but always reading books and showing a passion for learning and drawing. Elmer was a member of the gifted and talented program and volunteered at the Fort Fairfield Public Library.

“I think the thing Rose should be remembered for is how artistic and smart she was,” Kilcollins said.

Donations to the scholarship can be made to Fort Fairfield Middle/High School with a letter, or note indicating it’s for the Rose Elmer Memorial Scholarship, Kilcollins said. The address is Fort Fairfield Middle/High School, 28 High School Drive, Suite A, Fort Fairfield, ME 04742.

The Fort Fairfield varsity soccer team and Bangor Christian, the team they were supposed to play against the day of the fire, also raised money to donate to the surviving members of the Elmer family and their relatives, according to Kilcollins. 

The soccer game against Bangor Christian was delayed after news of the Elmer family tragedy spread through Fort Fairfield’s tight knit community on Nov. 2.

The Rose Elmer Memorial Scholarship will last as long as donors support it, according to Giberson.

“It would be really awesome if we get the [Rose Elmer Memorial Scholarship] going for as long as possible,” Giberson said.