Johnsen, an HVA senior, is 1st focus among 3 locals
Three Knox County Schools students with local ties recently were chosen as recipients of the Evan Richey Memorial Scholarship.
Tina Richey, mother of the scholarship’s namesake, the late Evan Richey, a Hardin Valley Academy graduate, said four $2,000 scholarships were awarded, three of which went to Linnea Johnsen of HVA, and Mason Motley and Christine Sprague of Farragut High School.
Johnsen will be the focus this week’s issue, with Motley and Sprague featured in upcoming issues.
Tina and Mark Richey established the scholarship in memory of their son, who lost his life to osteosarcoma on the day he received his high school diploma in 2019.
Adding two scholarship this year, “The scholarship winners were chosen based on several criteria,” Tina Richey said.
“We look at classes they have taken, such as Advanced Placement and Honors classes, and we also put weight in their volunteer hours,” she added. “Their essay on how cancer affected them is a major part of the selection criteria.”
About hearing she received the scholarship, Johnsen said, “I was really surprised but also extremely grateful.
“I think it’s great that the Richey family chose to start a scholarship fund as a memorial for their son because it helps students to turn experiences from personal struggles into motivation to go on in their careers and make a difference for future generations,” added Johnsen, daughter of David and Jennifer Johnsen. “I hopefully will go on to become an occupational therapist because I want to help people push past their physical limitations to succeed.
“My goal is to get through college debt-free, so this scholarship will help a lot. I’m planning on attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to study biology, and the $2,000 will go toward cost of tuition.”
Johnsen wrote about a close family member’s cancer and how it motivated her to help and care for others.
“My mom had a very unique experience with cancer, and the lessons I learned during her battles are relevant to my life and career choice,” she said. “Ever since I was born, my parents had been trying to have another child so that I would have a younger sibling.
“They tried several methods, including adoption, but none had succeeded,” Johnsen added. “Finally, my mom’s doctor told her that she might be pregnant, but the ‘baby’ actually turned out to be a cancerous growth inside her placenta.
”This was very disheartening. But one day during my mom’s chemotherapy session, we got a sudden call from the adoption center, and that’s when I found out my little sister had been born.”
After that, “My mom was still physically sick, but she had found what she was missing the whole time,” the senior said. “My sister was the missing puzzle piece in our family, and this experience all started because my parents had found the compassion to adopt. It continues to remind me about the importance of caring and helping others.”