Memorial scholarship established for DHS art
The parents of Andrew "Drew" Kemme, a 1995 graduate of De Soto High School who died this fall in an auto accident in western Shawnee, have established an art scholarship in his honor at the school.
Jim and Lucinda Kemme will use funds from their son's memorial to help a graduating De Soto senior pursue the visual arts after high school, something that was a goal of their son before he died.
De Soto High School art teacher Tim Mispagel said he appreciated the gift and the Kemme's decision to give back to a favorite program at their son's alma mater.
Mispagel said the scholarship would help a talented student follow art who might not otherwise be able to. The scholarship may encourage students pursue the arts, whether they choose to do it as a career or a continuing interest as they study other, academic subjects.
"It's rare to have a kid come through that just wants to go to art school," Mispagel said. "It's one more reminder to the kids that are interested in art that there are some opportunities for advancement in the arts."
Mispagel said details and a monetary amount were yet to be decided but that he and the Kemme's would probably award the scholarship to one graduating senior each year based on applications and essays from interested students.
Friends and family described Andrew Kemme as artistically talented, compassionate and thoughtful.
"Most people that knew Andrew knew that he was a deep thinker," Lucinda Kemme said. "Analyzing, and analyzing why things are the way they are in the world, and feeling the pain of people who suffered with the seeming unfairness of life."
De Soto High School English teacher Kathy Reddy remembered having him in class.
She recalled that Kemme -- a talented hands-on student -- probably would have preferred working on cars or drawing to studying for her class any day.
"I don't know that English was his favorite subject," she said. "He was much more artistically inclined."
Before he died, Kemme was taking classes at Johnson County Community College, with a goal of eventually studying art at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Kemme died Oct. 2 from injuries he sustained in a one-car accident in the 6500 block of Mize Road, just a few blocks from his home.
Just before 11 p.m. that night, Kemme lost control of his vehicle, which left the west side of the road and struck a tree, according to the Shawnee Police Department. He was taken by helicopter to the University of Kansas hospital, where he later died.
A passenger, Vincent P. Young, 21, of Kansas City, Mo., survived the crash.
-- Contributing: Carolyn Boyer