More than just Thomas County Central High School’s 2023 yearbook will laud late educator Marvel Renae Moore and her dedication to inspiring young minds.
To honor Moore and her irreplaceable contributions, TCCHS English Language Arts Department and a committee created the INSPIRED by Moore scholarship, a reworking of the original I.N.S.P.I.R.E. scholarship, a club for which Moore was a cofounder.
Moore, who spent 18 years at TCCHS, died in September 2022. She taught English Language Arts, primarily American Literature, but had recently begun working as the school’s digital technology specialist.
Assistant Principal Dr. Erin Rehberg said TCCHS reciprocated Moore’s affection.
“We loved her, too,” Rehberg said. “She was such an asset to this school, and we have all missed her so much this year. It is so appropriate that her colleagues saw it fitting to honor her memory with this scholarship. She loved to give out the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. scholarship every year, so it feels very appropriate to keep the scholarship going in her name.”
Son Caleb Moore, a TCCHS graduate, said the family’s speechless and honored by this scholarship’s creation. He said to know his mother – who was kind, patient, and passionate about everything she touched – was to know love, compassion and Jesus Christ.
“My mother had a love for the underserved everywhere, but especially Thomas County Schools,” Caleb said. “Her mission was to ensure that this group of people felt heard, seen, and equipped to do anything they set their minds toward. This scholarship is something that my mother dreamed of; she often spoke of her vision of expanding the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. scholarship and being able to help those in need.”
The scholarship is for TCCHS graduating seniors who will be first-generation college students, a cause dear to the late Moore’s heart.
“Our family believes that the recipient should be a graduating senior who will be a first-generation college student because the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. club was started for first-generation college students,” Caleb said. “This allows a perfect start for a student to thrive, have an opportunity to rewrite their family's story, and make a difference in the world.”
I.N.S.P.I.R.E. stands for “Illuminating and Navigating Successfully Propelling Ingenuity through Real World Experiences.” Educators Louise Phillips, Regina Beasley and Moore founded the club as an avenue to galvanize students to strive for excellence by providing them with supplemental academic and life support. Sponsors mentored, test prepped, and arranged tours of college campuses to show members available possibilities.
Cofounder Regina Beasley said many I.N.S.P.I.R.E. members were unaware of the history behind Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs.
“As a result, we started taking them on college tours to get exposure and also to plant a seed that they could attend one of these great institutions,” she said. “The [original] scholarships were given to help ease the financial burden for these students and their families.”
Friend and long-time coworker Christina Price said this revamped memorial scholarship continues to honor that goal.
“It was Renae's desire, in helping create the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. club, that students realize the opportunities available to them,” she said. “As a legacy to her, we want this scholarship to help a student each year who may not believe college is a possibility.”
INSPIRED by Moore is an annual scholarship, and its committee will choose beneficiaries. To raise funds and support National Reading Month in March, the scholarship committee sold unique T-shirts with “INSPIRE” on the front and “Read Moore in March” on the back. Everyone who purchased a shirt wore it on March 29.
“We thought what better time for us to honor Renae and her love of literature,” former TCCHS ELA Department colleague and committee member Laura Parkerson said.
The scholarship will go to its first recipient this May.
“I hope not only to be a part of the scholarship recipient selection process but also serve as a mentor to these recipients throughout their college journey,” Caleb said. “We hope that her legacy will live on through this scholarship. That the recipient will continue their education and spread love, kindness, and a passion for serving those who may not be ‘seen’ as important or ‘worth it.’”
Still, Moore’s absence is one everyone who knew her felt, and still feels, deeply.
“Mrs. Moore was this extraordinary presence,” colleague Jillian Mitchell said. “She was such a bright light. Nothing felt as good [as] when Renae shined her light on you.”
Peer Kensey D’Souza calls Moore an inspiration to the teachers around her.
“Mrs. Moore was loved and respected deeply by everyone who knew her,” she said. “Her coworkers will never forget her tenacity, vigor, and sense of humor that she practiced consistently as a leader.”
Moore had a reputation as a strict teacher and once earned “Most Rigorous Class” in the school yearbook. However, she was all heart.
“Through the years, she may have had the reputation of being ‘tough,’ but that toughness was born out of ‘LOVE,’” Price said. “She wanted the best for every single student who entered her classroom, so yes, she did push students out of their comfort zones to help them find their potential.”
“She held her students to the highest standards because sometimes she could see in a young person amazing things that they could not even see in themselves,” she said.
ELA teacher Michelle Outlaw said Moore motivated her peers, too.
“Mrs. Moore made me push myself to be a better teacher and to do more for the kids,” she said. “She was one of those individuals you could tell did everything with the intention of making the world a better place. She was well respected, and just her presence would make you smile.”
Beasley met Moore in 2007 when she first began working at TCCHS.
“We became friends, and then we became family,” Beasley said. “She was my sister, and I loved her dearly. She was the most genuine person that I have ever met. Our friendship is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so thankful that God blessed me to know her for that season of my life. I miss her terribly, and I still can’t believe that she is gone.”
TCCHS Principal Jamie Thompson said Moore’s inspiring dedication will live on through everyone she touched and this scholarship.
“Mrs. Moore's legacy of promoting education will live on in the lives of the students and faculty that she invested in during her time at TCCHS,” he said. “The INSPIRED by Moore scholarship will carry her name to students she was unable to meet and influence.”
To donate to the scholarship, make checks payable to TCCHS with INSPIRED by Moore as the memo. For more information about donations, contact TCCHS Bookkeeper Jackie Dixon at (229) 225-5050.
“We will never forget Renae and her dedication to education and helping students,” Price said. “Hopefully, this [scholarship] will be a reality for many years to come.”