NHL Hockey Player Surprises Sandy Hook Survivor — Who Lost His Sister — With Law School Scholarship After Game
Even in the face of unspeakable tragedy, love wins.
Isaiah Márquez-Greene, a survivor of the horrific 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, is one strong young man.
Isaiah’s young sister Ana Grace died tragically in the Sandy Hook mass shooting at the tender age of six. Ana Grace was one of twenty elementary school children and six teachers who were killed in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
Isaiah attended Sandy Hook Elementary and was just eight years old at the time of the shooting.
Isaiah and his family have been through unthinkable loss and heartbreak but have spent the past decade helping others, adopting the slogan “Love Wins” right after the tragedy.
Isaiah is now 18 years old and has just received the surprise of a lifetime.
On April 13th, Isaiah attended a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden and met his all-time favorite hockey player, Jacob Trouba.
And that is when the surprises began!
Upon arriving at Madison Square Garden, Isaiah was under the impression he was going to receive a hockey jersey from the Rangers’ captain. Isaiah met Trouba on the ice and explained what a major fan of the hockey star he had been since he was a little boy, when the defenseman played for the Winnipeg Jets.
Cue the Magical Surprises:
After signing the jersey, Trouba invited Isaiah to join him on the Rangers bench. Calling him an “amazing human,” the Ranger revealed that he knew all about Isaiah’s story and asked him what he wants to do in the future.
Isaiah shared his hopes of becoming a lawyer and that he is preparing to attend the University of Connecticut’s Special Program in Law. The program allows incoming undergraduates to declare their interest in law and receive special support to plan for law school.
Trouba proceeded to hand Isaiah a certificate and told him, “You’re going to graduate from college, you’re going to go to law school and you’re going to have no debt coming out of school” exclaimed Jacob.
Isaiah: You’re our inspiration.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 14, 2023
We can’t wait to see you right back here after Troubs watches you graduate law school. pic.twitter.com/GUU8FhQHFM
“This is for you,” he said. “It’s from the ‘Garden of Dreams,’ It’s a scholarship for law school.”
“No way!” Isaiah responded.
“You deserve it, man,” added Trouba.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with Madison Square Garden to assist young people with achieving their dreams. The Foundation funded Isaiah’s scholarship, as well as provided fifteen $60,000 awards to other deserving students.
After the pair took a picture together, Jacob surprised Isaiah once again by giving him his phone number and telling Isaiah to text him. He said that he wanted to check in with him when he is in college and wants to attend his university graduation.
“I’m looking forward to what you accomplish in life,” Trouba expressed. “You’ve got a lot ahead of you.”
When the New York Rangers shared the touching moment between Isaiah and Trouba on Twitter, they captioned it with, “Isaiah: You’re our inspiration. We can’t wait to see you right back here after Troubs watches you graduate law school.”
Isaiah’s mother, Nelba, also shared the heartfelt moment between Jacob and her son on Twitter, wrote, “This was a lot of beauty to hold at once. Thank you, @NYRangers, for keeping your promises.”
“We are officially a @UConn family,” she added. “Take good care of him, friends.”
Isaiah’s family are the founders of The Ana Grace project, a foundation in honor of his younger sister, which supports arts education and the “Love Wins” curriculum, as well as providing community training for mental health support.
Nelba followed up with a heartfelt message on the Project’s Facebook page:
“I still have no words to describe this. I am in shock. Basically, we turned down a lot of schools because it would have meant so much debt. I didn’t want that for him. And I didn’t want it for me,” she wrote. “Saying no to a child’s first choice is hard. But God had this in store.”
As the Márquez-Greene family continues to remind us – love wins.