RIVERTON, Kan. — At age 13, Taylor Kemp had a desire to see her school be an attractive place that her classmates would enjoy.
She was involved in many Riverton school activities — including athletic and music programs — and her mother, Teresa, was a teacher with the school district.
In 2009, Taylor and Teresa, of Pittsburg, were killed when their car was hit by a vehicle operated by a drunken driver who was fleeing from police. Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene; Teresa, 41, died six days later in a hospital.
Superintendent Todd Berry said their absence was felt throughout the district, but a memorial fund that was established in their name has kept their memory alive.
The Riverton School Board recently accepted a donation from the fund, operated by Teresa’s husband and Taylor’s father, John Kemp. Although an exact amount wasn’t given during the meeting, Berry estimates the donation will be about $20,000 that will be spent during a five-year period.
Berry said the money will be used for things that Teresa and Taylor were passionate about, including school beautification, cheerleading, music, drama, reading and sports activities.
“Taylor, as a young girl, had a desire to see her school be an attractive school and to be a place kids wanted to be,” Berry said. “So, we’ve had that in mind and we try to do those kinds of things that would be dear to their hearts.”
Previous donations have been made to the school by the fund, Berry said, and have paid for items such as flower boxes that line the entrance and a digital message board that’s in front of the school.
Berry said the previous old-fashioned message board was in disrepair and that was something Taylor had mentioned to her father.
The donations also paid for travel bags for the softball team and cheerleaders, and new warm-up outfits for the cheerleading squad. New electronic books were purchased for middle school students, because Teresa was passionate about reading.
“We certainly wish they were here,” Berry said. “It’s a tragic situation. We would much rather have Teresa in our hallways and teaching our kids.”
He added that Taylor would’ve been attending college.
“We would much rather that be the case than where we are today,” he said, but added donations from the memorial fund have been greatly appreciated by the district.
“The Kemp family has been a blessing to the Riverton School District,” Berry said. “We know that John and his family think the world of our school district, and he’s always made that very clear. He’s always supported our school and we very much appreciate him.”
Organs donated by Teresa and Taylor Kemp, who were killed in a car accident in 2009, benefited the lives of more than 50 people.