Katrina Seaburn Will Never Be Forgotten If Mom, Tammy, Has Any Say
Not if her mom, Tammy Seaburn, has anything to do with it.
Tammy Seaburn has already started one scholarship in her daughter’s honor, is looking to start another, and would like to someday have a foundation in the name of her daughter, who was murdered by her boyfriend, Damien Ditz, on March 1, 2017.
“I want to keep the memory of Katrina alive while helping to ensure that no one else has to go through what she went through,” Tammy Seaburn said. “I want to be able to help other girls. I don’t want to see another girl go through what she went through. She was alone. Because of the domestic violence, her friends didn’t want to be a part of it, and she didn’t talk to her friends here (in Curwensville) about it. If I can prevent that, then I am doing great things to honor her.”
Tammy Seaburn has already started the path to honoring Katrina starting with a scholarship she set up at Curwensville High School, where her daughter graduated in 2013. Katrina was just two months shy of graduation at Clarion University when she was shot and killed in the Lake Lucy area of Washington Township, Clarion County.
“Right now, there is a scholarship at Curwensville High School for two seniors graduating each year,” Tammy Seaburn said. “Each scholarship is for $500.00. There is criteria for them that follows what she did in high school. (The recipient) must be doing something in music, whether that is band front, choir, band, whatever) and also do something in athletic sports. It can be any sport, including cheerleading. They also must be in the National Honor Society. Those things were important to Katrina.”
The first scholarships were given out in June 2018 and went to Alea Vogel and Allison Hoover, but Tammy Seaburn said the winner can be male or female.
“They have to write an essay, and they have to be in NHS,” Tammy Seaburn said. “Katrina was adamant about grades and education. She spent many hours on the phone when she was at Clarion University because she was so stressed out (about grades). For her, education and grades were so important.”
Money for the scholarship is being raised in a number of different ways.
In January of 2018, the Curwensville girls’ basketball team held a night in Katrina’s honor where money was raised for the scholarship.
“Curwensville did a huge fundraiser in her honor,” Tammy Seaburn said. “It was really people from all over Clearfield County. It was amazing. It was amazing. She was honored and loved and thought of so highly in this community. It had been a year since she had lost her life, and they were still memorializing her.”
Tammy Seaburn said fundraising efforts were put on hold during this past summer and fall because of the then-upcoming trial for Ditz, who was convicted of third-degree murder in December 2018 and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison by Clarion County Judge James Arner on January 23, 2019.
“I was going to speak and give a speech on domestic violence in October in Clarion, but thought it was better to wait until after the trial,” Tammy Seaburn said. “We are thinking of doing a concert to raise money for scholarships in her memory in May or June locally here in Curwensville. Heather Olson, who has been through all of this with me and whose son, Alex, was very good friends with Katrina, said she would love to perform in memory of Katrina. Megan McGary, a violinist and singer who graduated behind Katrina at Curwensville, is definitely willing to perform. There are others who I know, so many of them here, that I can reach out and ask. All the money would to the scholarship, so we can help that way. I know what a struggle college was for Katrina to pay for. It’s not an easy thing. Financially, it’s a bugger on you.”
While Tammy Seaburn wasn’t directly involved in fundraising efforts over the summer and fall, funds were still being raised for the scholarship in Katrina’s memory.
“There have been all kinds of different fundraisers throughout the year,” Tammy Seaburn said. “A lot of people do these things on their own. They just ask me if it’s ok. It’s just amazing to me.”
One of the fundraisers was done by Pappy’s Dippy Pizza of Grampian, Pa.
“At the fair, Pappy’s Dippy Pizza had her picture up, and all of the tips went to her scholarship,” Tammy Seaburn said.
In addition to the scholarships at Curwensville, Tammy Seaburn is also supporting some of the things Katrina loved at Clarion University.
“Right now, I am paying for some of the membership of the fraternity (Kappa Kappa Psi) that she belonged to,” Tammy Seaburn said. “Each year, they have new members. The majorettes who become members, I pay for their membership the first year in honor of Katrina. I try to keep it to the band front because that is what she was a member of. I try to help with their membership.”
The indoor majorities and color guard at Clarion University, something Katrina set up when she was at the school, also does a camp in her honor each year.
“Before her death, she had a camp scheduled,” Tammy Seaburn said. “There were 40 some students signed up to come to camp in April 2017. The other girls stepped up and stepped in and held it. They had it again in 2018 and plan on having it this year. It’s an indoor training camp for younger girls to learn new tricks, routines. The money goes to the indoor majorities and color guard for uniforms, equipment and things like that so they can compete.”
Tammy Seaburn said her next step is trying to get something set up at Clarion University in Katrina’s memory.
“I have spoken to the Clarion University Foundation,” Tammy Seaburn said. “If I want to set up a scholarship in her name, we will need a $25,000.00 endowment, and then go from there. That is a work in progress right now.”
According to Tammy Seaburn, her ultimate goal someday is to have a foundation set up in Katrina’s name.
“I would love to have a foundation in her honor here in Clearfield County for Domestic Violence and Gun Violence,” Tammy Seaburn said. “That would just be amazing – for girls and men in the area. We are such a rural area, it’s hard to find support groups other than Domestic Violence. And because (Katrina’s murder was in Clarion County) and I was in Clearfield, I couldn’t get help in Clearfield. I had to go to Clarion. Everything I did, victims advocate, etc, I had to travel to Clarion. To have a foundation here that would be located here but offer services to anyone, not have it restricted by county, I would love to do that.”
Tammy Seaburn said she wasn’t aware of the domestic violence she believes her daughter was facing until after her death.
“I found out after her death about the domestic violence that was occurring, and it had occurred the entire time,” said Tammy Seaburn. (Editor’s Note – even at his sentencing, Damien Ditz denied ever abusing Katrina Seaburn.)
“It was her friends who came forward, and they made statements at the police station, etc. Anything I can do to help prevent the shame that hangs in the air about domestic violence, I want to do. People don’t want to talk about it. It needs to go away. Society needs to know it’s out there, and we are losing loved ones. We need to work towards zero tolerance of Domestic Violence as a society. It kills just like drugs do. It’s really out there, and it shouldn’t shame you. You should be able to talk about it and not be afraid,” continued Tammy Seaburn.
Tammy Seaburn said the outpouring of love and support she has seen for Katrina since her death takes her breath away.
“I stand in awe,” Tammy Seaburn said. “A lot of times, I don’t even know what to say. I never realized how much she was impacting people’s lives until her death. I knew she was doing great things in Clarion, but I didn’t know the extent. For her fraternity, they went all over for conventions, and she was going to New York, Ohio. (After her death) I got letters from people in Texas, Michigan, Montana, different areas who were her fraternity brothers and sisters who ran into her at a convention and said how she had inspired them.”
Tammy Seaburn also shared a story of how in February of 2017, just weeks before her death, Katrina went to Titusville to talk to the band front about the indoor majorities.
“She gave a presentation on how important it is to be involved and to depend on one another and to be there for one another,” Tammy Seaburn said. “I received a letter from the band director there weeks after her death telling me how much she impacted their group and what a joy it was to meet her and for me to be so proud of the young lady.”
“It just makes me stand in awe. A lot of the times I cry. It’s so heart-filling to know that she was really a good, good-hearted girl and was really trying to make a difference in society.”
Tammy Seaburn said people think she is strong because she has been able to go on living life without Katrina, but Tammy said it is a daily struggle, and it’s only her faith in God that keeps her going.
“People think I am strong,” Tammy Seaburn said. “I’m not a strong person. God gives me all the strength to sustain and go on. I have huge, huge faith in the Lord. I tell people if you stop for a second if you just think for a second if that was your child how you would feel. You would feel nauseated. Overwhelming anxiety fills your body when you have to think about it, and you become sick. The pain never stops. That is me every day. When I open my eyes in the morning, it’s there. When I close my eyes at night, it’s there. If you have never lost a child, you can’t even imagine, especially at the hands of someone else. That is my hardest struggle.”
“You won’t find anyone who says anything bad about her. Her heart was genuine and good and she wanted to help people. She would help anybody. That was where her heart was.”
Editor’s Note: Anyone interested in supporting the scholarship in Katrina Seaburn’s name at Curwensville, should reach out to the Curwensville School District. Donations can also be mailed to the school district at 650 Beech Street, Curwensville, PA 16833, with a memo stating it is for the Katrina Seaburn Memorial Scholarship.
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