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Thomas Raymond Curtis Memorial Scholarship awarded

Curtis Scholarship Award PictureIn 1997, Thomas Raymond Curtis, an unassuming teacher of 30 years from Flat Gap, decided to do an extraordinary thing: He chose to leave a lasting legacy for the education of Johnson County students.  

When he passed away, he left the largest bequest in the Morehead State University Foundation’s history, $1.3 million, to fund the Thomas Raymond Curtis Memorial Scholarship.  

Each year, at least one Curtis Scholarship is awarded from the Johnson County High School (JCHS) graduating class. These scholars are awarded $10,000 annually to be applied toward their studies at MSU.  

The 2021 recipient of the scholarship is Katelyn Spence. Spence is a recent graduate of JCHS from Flat Gap. She is the daughter of Amy and Sammy Spence. She will be majoring in early elementary education.    

Spence completed four years of early childhood education courses at JCHS and graduated with honors. In addition, she was a two-year member of the JCHS branch of the Unite Club and participated in the Johnson Central Rising Educators Tutoring Program at Flat Gap Elementary.  

“I yearn to teach children the value of books and reading at a young age and how it can help them understand themselves and the world around them. All while instilling in them a love for learning,” Spence said. “This scholarship will allow me to further my education to in turn make a greater impact on my community. It will help me reach my goals and I will work hard to help others reach theirs as well.”  

Students from JCHS who plan to further their education at MSU are eligible to apply for the award annually. Preference is given to students from Flat Gap who plan to pursue a degree in education. The award is renewable for three years if academic eligibility requirements are maintained.   

Students interested in applying to this scholarship, along with other privately funded scholarships managed by the MSU Foundation, should visit the online scholarship application at       

For more information on this scholarship, or to establish your own, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit    

Photo, left to right: Thom Cochran, superintendent of Johnson County Schools, Katelyn Spence and Emma Jane Boggs, family member of the late Johnson County teacher Thomas Raymond Curtis. Spence is the 2021 recipient of the Thomas Raymond Curtis Memorial Scholarship.