By Mark Fausz
If you attended high school in Chester in the 1970s, you would have lived and breathed Thomas Dale High School especially if you were a cheerleader and the homecoming queen. But cheering wasn’t enough for an energetic girl who would go on to garner accolades from her life as a newspaper reporting.
While working toward a degree in Liberal Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she worked on the college newspaper, The Collegiate Times. Her degree in journalism and communication set her on a path that would last the rest of her life.
Kathryn Thompson Leckie died the morning of February 19, 2012, with her family gathered around her. She was 50 years old.
How do you measure a life? Career? Sense of humor? The love of and by others? Kathryn’s life could have been measured by the love from family, friends and colleagues.
Alison Martin, Kathryn’s sister said that Kathryn knew that we have a limited time on earth but was surprised that it came so early for her. She had no way of knowing when her time was up, although she always lived each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one she had.
While continuing her education she attended Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla., a national training center for journalists, as well as the FBI Academy in Baltimore, Md., and she was no stranger to accolades. Recently she was awarded citations from the Frederick Mayor and Aldermen, Frederick County Commissioners, Frederick Police Department and Frederick Sheriff’s Office in recognition of her years at The News-Post and the contributions she and her reporting made to the community.
Additionally, she received a proclamation from the State’s Attorney of Frederick County recognizing her for her exemplary professionalism and her outstanding commitment in covering matters criminal with the utmost kindness and compassion shown to crime victims.
As is a deserving and way to honor an exceptional life, a scholarship has been set up in Kathryn’s name.
Kathryn’s roommate at VA Tech, Carolyn Culicerto Corsi, has been instrumental in creating the Kathryn Thomas Leckie Fund which will support a scholarship for students with a focus on journalism and communication at Thomas Dale.
“…an annual scholarship program for high school seniors seeking to attend VT and focus on Communications as a major. Wow, how exciting is this for all of us,” Corsi said.
A GoFundMe (surf to gofundme enter Kathryn Thompson Leckie) page tells the story of an effort to support the scholarship which has Kathryn’s name on it.
“For me personally, reaching the goal of a scholarship, means my parents will know that their beloved
Kathryn will not be forgotten,” said Kathryn’s sister Alison T. Martin.
“We are sprinting to the finish line this year. We are working together 1) to encourage young people at TDHS to be like Kathryn, 2) to support Kathryn’s passion – the need for excellence in professional journalism now more than ever – and 3) to honor our classmate and her parents –who lost a daughter from cancer way too soon and want to ensure her legacy lives on,” Mike Anderson said, a Thomas Dale and Virginia Tech classmate who has worked to bring the scholarship to fruition.
Kathryn’s journalism school friends and professional colleagues promoted the philosophy of their craft and reporting tenets.
“We both liked Jackson Browne and believed journalists were servants to the public, and worked many hours to learn our craft, to become professional journalists, and to protect the freedom of the press,” said Anderson.