Daniel and Sonia Abut received a standing ovation from all who attended the Thursday's meeting of the Summit Board of Education.
The Abuts made a donation for an undisclosed amount to the district to be used for the restoration of the Lawton C. Johnson auditorium lobby. As such, the family has been given the naming rights, which they will use to pay tribute to the memory of their son, Santiago Daniel Abut.
Santi, as he was known to his family and friends, was an eighth-grader at the middle school when he died unexpectedly following a brief illness in 2008.
Johnson Principal Matt Block, who joined the school following Santi's passing, said Thursday evening that while he didn't have a chance to get to know the young man, he feels as if he did because of the way his memory has been kept alive within the district thanks to his family and friends. Block said the Abuts shared that Santi, who enjoyed participating in the drama program, felt at home in the auditorium. He said the lobby would serve as a beautiful and lasting monumental and memorial.
In October of 2010, the Santi Abut Outdoor Classroom at the middle school was officially dedicated to his memory and in 2012, the year Santi would have graduated from high school, Summit High School senior Heiner Fallas became the first recipient of the Santiago Daniel Abut Memorial Scholarship.
Both the auditorium and the lobby will undergo construction during the summer of 2014.