Today is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day in Tennessee. This week, Austin Peay State University hosted an event at Kenwood High School, in Clarksville, to announce the establishment of a new scholarship in memory of a high school teacher who died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Eighteen-year-old Skylar Hughes presented APSU President Alisa White with a $25,000 check for the creation of the Kathryn Watson Over Endowment. The scholarship, named for Over–Hughes' former teacher–will be awarded each year to a Kenwood High graduate who plans to major in education at APSU.
On Sept. 18, 2011, Over, her husband, Jon, and three friends, died of CO poisoning while sleeping in an RV at the annual Bikers Who Care Toy Run event.
“She was the first person who took an interest in helping me,” Hughes said of her teacher. An eighth grade student at the time of the tragedy, Hughes went to work raising awareness about the dangers of CO. In 2012, her efforts led to the creation of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day in Clarksville. Earlier this summer, Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill, sponsored by State Representative Joe Pitts and State Senator Mark Green, designating September 18 of each year as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day in Tennessee.
Hughes also began raising money for the establishment of the scholarship in Over’s name at APSU. With help from Over’s parents, the $25,000 mark was reached earlier this year.