School scholarship

Presley Parker, one of the first Glasgow High School recipients in 2018 of a scholarship sponsored by Rosemary and John Brown, discusses the impact the $5,000 annual gift has had on her and her education during a press conference Tuesday for the announcement of a $1 million endowment from the Browns for future scholarships. 

GLASGOW – A $1 million endowment announced Tuesday morning is to be used to fund scholarships for Glasgow High School graduating seniors.

Terry Bunnell, president of the Glasgow-Barren County Community Foundation, which is the actual recipient and administrator of the endowment, made the announcement at press conference at the Glasgow Independent Schools central office.

The fund is being established by Rosemary Kopel Brown, a 1953 GHS graduate, and her husband, John Brown, in honor of two former GHS teachers, Mary Davis and Lee Smith, and it is anticipated to allow $40,000 for scholarships annually.

After her GHS graduation, Rosemary Kopel attended Freed-Hardeman College, where she and John Brown met. They both also hold degrees from Auburn University, and they have provided monetary gifts to those institutions as well.

Rosemary Brown taught math for 29 years, and John Brown is a former CEO and board chairman for Stryker Corp., a leading medical device company.

The Browns, who live in Atlanta, could not attend the press conference, but some of Rosemary Kopel Brown's classmates – Freddie Travis and Ora and Frank Riherd – attended, sharing stories about her and the teachers the Browns are honoring. Margie Kinslow said she graduated with Rosemary's sister Rachel 10 years earlier than those individuals and told of a few memories she also has of Davis and Smith.

Several years ago, the Browns established the Rosemary Brown Family Foundation, which is primarily focused on contributing to educational causes, secondary education and scholarships.

Approximately two years ago, Bunnell said, Rosemary Brown contacted the local community foundation about naming two scholarships in honor of two of her former teachers, and the first two recipients, one of whom was Presley Parker, who attended the press conference, were chosen in 2018. The annual awards were $5,000 each and were renewable for a total of $20,000. Bunnell said there were 12 applicants that year. The Browns made the same commitment in 2019, when there were 19 applicants. The application process involves an interview, letters of reference, a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and and essay, he said.

Over the past couple of months, the Glasgow-Barren County foundation, with the support of Tony Watkins, chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of West Kentucky, of which the local organization is an affiliate, was able to discuss the formation of the endowment to honor the impact of Davis and Smith and to recognize the philanthropic impact of Rosemary and John Brown for generations to come, Bunnell said.

“It will outlive all of us in this room,” he said.

As with the past two years, this new gift to the foundation is given in honor of two teachers.

“That's a bold statement there for the value of education and the value of the men and women that are in our school system, especially to [Davis and Smith],” Bunnell said.

Davis was a language arts teacher for 44 years, starting in 1928 at the Liberty Street campus of Glasgow High School. She sponsored clubs as well, and before school buses were commonplace, she would use her personal vehicle to help transport GHS football team members to their away games, he said.

“Miss Davis believed in educating the whole child and was an example for future educators," Bunnell said.

Smith taught science for 48 years after earning her master's degree in 1934. She sponsored a science club and “sparked an interest in biology and chemistry in young men and women for decades.”

She is remembered by former students as a warm and caring teacher who enjoyed her students' “light bulb” moments, but also as someone determined to mold her students into being thoughtful, industrious community members, Bunnell said.

He shared comments sent from Rosemary Brown about how inspiring and encouraging the teachers were and how the lessons learned in their classes extended to all areas of life.

“I speak for the Class of 1953, and for my late sister Rachel, the Class of 1943, to say that we, among others, are fortunate to have known these two teachers and it is a privilege to remember them with these scholarships,” Bunnell read.

He expressed gratitude to the Browns on behalf of the community and the students of the future.

“This endowment is investing in the lives of young people,” he said. “This is a tremendous day for us.”

Glasgow Independent Schools Superintendent Keith Hale said, “It's just incredible .... We've got a rich tradition and it's reflected in this.”

GHS Principal Amy Allen said the gift “speaks very highly of the relationship piece and the culture that is Glasgow schools and that we are known for – that our teachers mean so much to our kids, and our kids mean so much to our teachers – so I can't think of a better way to celebrate the rich tradition and the history of Glasgow schools and to honor these two educators.”

Parker, who has met Rosemary Brown, said she is an amazing person.

“Glasgow did a lot for me ...," said the Western Kentucky University junior and elementary education major. "Having this scholarship throughout my years has really motivated me and allowed me an opportunity to excel in a way that I didn't know I could. I'm actually going to graduate early, and I actually put a lot of that on the ability to complete more hours than I thought that I could due to some of the financial burden being lifted off of it, and I'm just thankful for the experiences that Glasgow has given me.”

Watkins said he could tell from his first conversation with Rosemary Brown that there was an angel on the other end of the phone line, and he thought she would want this to be a model for others to think about what they could give back to the school system in whatever capacity they can.

••• ORIGINAL STORY ••• 

A $1 million endowment announced Tuesday morning is to be used to fund scholarships for Glasgow High School seniors.

Terry Bunnell, president of the Glasgow-Barren County Community Foundation, made the announcement at press conference at the Glasgow Independent Schools central office, although he had also mentioned several of the details at the conclusion of the Glasgow Common Council meeting Monday evening.

The fund is being established by Rosemary Kopel Brown, a 1953 GHS graduate, and her husband, John Brown, in honor of two former GHS teachers, Mary Davis and Lee Smith.

The endowment is anticipated to allow $40,000 per year in scholarships funds.

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