Making a Difference: Four Knox County Schools students receive Evan Richey Memorial Scholarships

Four Knox County Schools high school seniors received memorial scholarships for $2,000 a piece in honor of a Knoxville woman’s late son who died of bone cancer.
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 8:59 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Four Knox County high school seniors received memorial scholarships for $2,000 each in honor of a Knoxville woman’s late son who died of bone cancer.

The scholarship is named after Evan Richey who died on the day he received his high school diploma.

His mother, Tina Richey, started the scholarship in 2020, awarding two students scholarships.

One of the main components of the application is writing an essay about how cancer has impacted your life.

This year’s student winners are: Linnea Johnsen of Hardin Valley Academy, Mason Motley of Farragut High School, Sierra Shuck-Sparer of West High School, and Christine Sprague of Farragut High School.

Johnsen wrote about her mom having cancer when she was a young girl. Now she’s grateful to be a recipient of the scholarship.

“I wasn’t really expecting to get it. But it means a lot to me. So thank you to the Richey family,” said Johnsen.

Mason Motley also had bone cancer, like Evan Richey, and was treated at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital at the same time. Though they never met, Motley heard a lot about Evan from his parents.

“I just hope that my story, like his story, can just help inspire others,” said Motley.

Christine Sprague shared that her brother had cancer when she was little. She was inspired by him and plans to pursue pediatric nursing in college.

“I thought I should write about what I witnessed seeing somebody battle cancer and try to kind of relate to his family and the things they went through,” explained Sprague.

The fourth recipient, Sierra Shuck-Sparer was not able to be there at the time of the story due to treatment for her brain cancer returning. She shared a statement.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Evan Richey Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will help give me the opportunity to pursue studying healthcare public policy at Georgia Tech,” said Sierra Shuck-Sparer, “Reading about Evan Richey and how smart and dedicated he was makes me feel even more honored to receive this scholarship in his name. Receiving this scholarship makes me more determined to overcome Gertrude [what she named her cancer] and continue working towards my goals of improving healthcare accessibility.”

Tina Richey has a committee that helps her decide the recipients.

“Some of the essays I mean, just brought tears to my eyes,” said Richey.

There were 35 applicants in total. The money will be used for college tuition.

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