It is with heavy hearts that we inform you, The Traveling School community, of the passing of Karalyn Gay, 2003 Traveling School alumna. Karalyn, affectionately called Kara by her TTS sisters and teachers, passed away last Saturday, August 28th.

Her parents, Beverly and Gordon, contacted Executive Director Jennifer Royall over the weekend to share the news of her passing and to reiterate Kara’s love and appreciate for her semester in southern Africa.

Her father Gordon shares, I believe the most significant event in her life besides having Taylor [her daughter], was her time in southern Africa with The Traveling School. Her mother and I also noticed a significant change in Kara upon her return. Her appreciation of the different customs and people outside of North America and the knowledge and friendships she made had a huge impact on her life. I want you, the teachers and staff know the impact you played in my girl’s life.

We at The Traveling School send our deepest condolences to Kara’s daughter, family, friends and community. Our hearts ache at the loss of such a remarkable young woman.

Her family informed us that it was Kara’s wish that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Traveling School. 

“She was always appreciative of the experience. A scholarship helped make this possible and she had never forgotten her semester. It was Kara’s hope that donations would help make this opportunity possible for others.

Click here to make a gift in Kara’s memory. 100% of your gift will go towards providing more young women the opportunity to attend The Traveling school, just as Kara requested.

If you would like to share a memory or express condolences, feel free to reach out to Jennifer.

Kara will live on in all our minds and hearts. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.


“She said, ‘I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou