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‘Choices’ key in life, Roark tells scholarship recipients

Harlan County Schools Superintendent Brent Roark told the audience assembled for the Harlan County Community Scholarship Banquet Monday evening that “life is about choices.”

“These kids have been making very good choices for a long time,” said Roark, addressing the honorees at the banquet. “They’ve made very good choices… They prepped for the ACT. They’ve performed community service. They’ve practiced athletics. They attended school. They’ve studied.”

But most importantly, Roark stressed, “They avoided bad choices.”

Roark urged the recipients to continue to avoid drugs and to not become complacent or lazy. He urged them to continue to build on the God given talents given to them.

“The students receiving these scholarships tonight personify what is good in our world, what is right in our schools and what is still right with our families,” said Roark.

Roark commended the parents, grandparents and other guardians for the roles they played in shaping the scholarship recipients into the outstanding students they have become. He asked the students to take a second and express appreciation to those who helped them along the way.

“A huge thank you to the parents and families who have raised these young people and through your words and actions have encouraged them to make the right choices and avoid bad decisions,” said Roark.

The scholarship banquet is sponsored through a partnership of the Harlan County Community Scholarship Fund, Inc.’s Board of Directors, the Harlan County Soil Conservation District, the Harlan County School District and the Harlan Independent School District.

Betty Jo Shotton Haas, a native of Lynch, presented a scholarship along with her husband, Fred, for the first time last year. After reviewing the applicants this year, she presented three scholarships.

“Much to my surprise, the three students who applied were all connected to me in one way or the other, although, we didn’t know it,’ said Haas.

“All three have been outstanding students, have scored well on their ACT and entrance exams. That was then and this is now. A new page in their life is beginning. The most important thing now is to go to college or a university and finish with a degree,” she said.

“Don’t just start and stop. Go all the way. My father always said, ‘Sis, get your education because no one can take it away.’ He was a coal miner in Lynch and valued an education. I attended the University of Kentucky and majored in Education. I obtained my master’s degree at Northern Kentucky University and was an instructor there for 16 years until I retired. This can be you, so dream big.”

Scholarships presented during the banquet held at the Harlan Center included:

Harlan County Community Scholarships: Kilian Ledford, Harlan High School, and Janice Dean, Benjamin Lewis and Luke Parker, Harlan County High School.

Harlan County Soil Conservation District: Brady A Adkins, Michael Todd (T.J.) Hensley, and Hunter McCauley, Harlan High School, and Rhileigh Starr Alred, Erika Creech, Abagail Middleton and Kylie Royce, Harlan County High School.

Bianchi Memorial Scholarship: Cassidy Foster, Harlan, High School, and Phebe Ryan McHargue, Harlan County High School.

J. Clark Metcalfe Memorial Scholarship: John Brady Brock and Emersyn Leigh Noah, Harlan High School; and Jonathon Paul Wilder, Harlan County High School.

Harlan Rotary Club Scholarship: Whitney Danielle Couch, Harlan High School; and Amber Nicole Allen, Harlan County High School.

A.F. and Mary Emma Whitfield Scholarship: Janice Dean, Harlan County High School.

Home Federal Bank: David Dakota Saylor, Harlan County High School.

Justin Shackleford Memorial Scholarship: Brady Adkins, Harlan High School.

The Fred and Betty Jo Shotton Haas Scholarship: Kylie Royce, Makayla Whitaker and Jonathon Paul Wilder, Harlan County High School.

Loyall American Legion Post No. 273 Americanism Scholarship: Baylee Logan Turner, Harlan High School; and Benjamin Lewis, Harlan County High School.

Robert E. Frazier Foundation Scholarships: Emily Lynn Collett, Erika Creech, Kylie Royce, Devyn Shoemaker, Makayla Whitaker and Jonathon Paul Wilder.

Cumberland Lions Club: Destiny Gross from Harlan High School will be awarded this scholarship during Honors Night at her school.

The community scholarships have been awarded since 1983. The scholarships are made possible by a host of generous individuals, groups and others who fund them annually.

Tax deductible donations of any amount are accepted at any time and can be mailed to Harlan County Community Scholarship Fund, H. Ken Jones, Treasurer, 106 South Cumberland Avenue, Harlan, KY 40831.

Scholarship finalists included:

HARLAN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

Rhileigh Starr Alred is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Link Crew, Educational Talent Search, Spanish Honor Society and Pep Club. She serves as yearbook editor and cheerleading captain. She is a class valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average. The daughter of Dusty and Holly Alred, she is the recipient of many awards for academics, cheerleading and various other areas. She plans to pursue a career in elementary education.

Erika (Nikki) Creech is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Link Crew, softball team and pep club. A class valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average, she plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands in the fall to pursue a degree in elementary education and eventually earn guidance counselor credentialing. She has compiled over 30 dual credit hours. She is the daughter of Eric and Tina Creech. Creech is also a finalist for the Robert E. Frazier Foundation Scholarship.

Janice Dean is a class valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average, a 2018 Kentucky Governor’s Scholar, member the academic team, 4-H, cross country, track and field, Beta Club, Gifted and Talented, concert band, marching band, Talent Search, National Honor Society, drama, agriculture, Future Farmers of America and the National Spanish Society. She participated in the institute for Future Agricultural Leaders and selected for the National Society of High School Scholars. A member of the Superintendent’s Student Council, she was chosen for the Center for Rural Development’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute. Her plans are to double major in finance and accounting while pursuing a minor in computer science. In addition, she will pursue a master’s in business administration and pursue a career in actuary. She is the daughter of Pleas and Samantha Dean. Dean is also a finalist for the A.F. and Mary Emma Whitfield Scholarship.

Benjamin Dixon Lewis is a class valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average. He is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Educational Talent Search, baseball team, cross-country and football team. In addition, he has participated in various baseball leagues and traveling teams. He has compiled 36 dual credit hours. He plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a bachelor and a master of science in nursing and then become a nurse anesthetist. He is the son of John and Lisa Lewis.

Phebe Ryan McHargue is a salutatorian of her class. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Educational Talent Search, Link Crew, and the basketball and track teams. She plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands where she will major in elementary education and minor in psychology or behavior counseling. An avid volunteer at the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club, she is the daughter of Robert McHargue and Tami Brock.

Abagail Middleton is a class salutatorian. She is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, First Priority, Educational Talent Search, track and captain of the soccer team. She plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands and major in biology with a pre-physician assistant track. After completing her undergraduate work, she plans to complete a physician assistants program there. She is the daughter of James and Margaret Middleton.

Luke Parker is captain of the school’s academic quick recall team. He is in the drama club and performed in various productions. He is class salutatorian, a member of the Superintendent’s Student Council, National Honor Society, Beta Club and Educational Talent Search. He volunteers at the Evarts Public Library, performing numerous tasks. He is a tutor for math and science. The son of William and Karen Parker, he plans to attend Northern Kentucky University to double major in biology and education. He plans to become a high school biology teacher and eventually a college professor.

Kylie Royce is a class salutatorian, member of the 2018 class of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, a member of the drama club, Spanish Honor Society, First Priority Beta Club, school chapter of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Educational Talent Search, and the National Honor Society. She has won numerous awards for her storytelling at the local, region and state levels. She plans to pursue a degree in theatre education. She is the granddaughter of Jeanette Deal. Royce is also a finalist for the Fred and Betty Jo Shotton Haas and Robert E. Frazier Foundation Scholarships.

HARLAN HIGH SCHOOL

Brady A. Adkins is a 2018 Kentucky Governor’s Scholar, a member of the Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, cheer squad, academic team, track and field team, journalism staff, prom committee and was selected as Top Gun All Star Cheer for two years. He plans to attend the University of Kentucky to major in education and minor in foreign language. He hopes to teach at a Kentucky high school and serve as cheer coach. He is the son of Leslie Adkins-Howard and Steve Howard. Adkins is also a finalists for the Justin Shackleford Memorial scholarship. Adkins is also a finalist for the Justin Shackleford Memorial Scholarship.

Cassidy Foster is a member of the Beta club, Future Business Leaders of America, cheerleading squad, and journalism staff. She plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a degree in forensic psychology or brain and cognitive psychology. She is the daughter of Chester and Janet Foster.

Michael Todd (T.J.) Hensley Jr. is a member of the academic team and Beta Club. He plans to attend college to pursue a double major in philosophy and political science and minor in Spanish. He visited Cuba on a mission trip in 2018 and served as an interpreter. He hopes to attend law school at the University of Virginia. He would like to serve others by working as a public defender in Harlan. He is the son of Billie Michelle Hensley and Michael Todd Hensley Sr.

Kilian Ledford is a member of the Beta Club and served as captain of the football and basketball teams. Kilian was the recipient of the 2018-19 Wah Wah Jones Award for athletic talent. He received many accolades for his athleticism. To raise awareness of mental health issues in the area, he sponsored a 5K to raise funds for NAOMI. He plans to attend Western Kentucky University and major in exercise science. He plans to become a physical therapist. He is the son of Dane and Barbra Ledford.

Hunter McCauley is a member of the Beta Club. He has been active in his church youth group and volunteered with the Salvation Army, Christ’s Hands and his church youth group. He plans to attend the University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering to pursue a degree in aerospace. He would like to be an aerospace engineer. He is the son of Tanda Farley Lisenbee and Scott Lisenbee.

J. CLARK METCALFE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

John Brady Brock is a senior at Harlan High School. He plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a degree in Occupational Health Safety. He participates in several activities including football, track, History Club and Future Business Leaders of America. He is in the Gifted Leadership program. In addition, he has extensive community service including Relay for Life, Breast Cancer Awareness and “Give a Toy, Spread Some Joy.” He is the son of Cristal Pace.

Emersyn Leigh Noah is a member of the Gifted and Talented Leadership and General Intellect at Harlan High School. She is a Rogers Scholar and ambassador for the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club. She is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Beta Club, cheerleading squad, Musettes and journalism staff. She plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to earn bachelor of science degree in nursing. Her career goal is to work in a rehabilitation setting. She is the daughter of Dondi and Stacy Noah.

Jonathon Paul Wilder is a member of the Beta Club, Den Keepers, and baseball team at Harlan County High School. He has been a volunteer at the Tri-City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cumberland. His career interest include occupational and physical therapy. He plans to attend Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and transfer to Lincoln Memorial University. He is the son of Jeff Wilder and Shannon Rutherford. Wilder is also a finalist for the Fred and Betty Jo Shotton Haas and Robert E. Frazier Foundation Scholarships.

HARLAN ROTARY CLUB TOMMY LEE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Amber Nicole Allen is a senior at Harlan County High School. She is a member of the soccer and track teams. She is in the Spanish Honor Society. She also attends Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College where she is active in the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) organization. She plans to attend Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College to pursue a degree in nursing. She plans to become a registered nurse and eventually a flight nurse. She is the daughter of Chris and Jennifer Allen.

Whitney Danielle Couch attends Harlan High School. She is a member of the academic, tennis, volleyball and cheer teams, Beta Club, and Future Business Leaders of America. Currently, she is serving as the president of the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) at the Harlan campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. She volunteers at the Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital in the emergency department. She plans to attend Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and to pursue a degree in nursing. She plans to remain in Eastern Kentucky to serve those in need. She is the daughter of Don and Melissa Couch.

AMERICAN LEGION POST 273

Benjamin Lewis is a senior at Harlan County High School. He is class valedictorian and has compiled 36 dual credit hours. He is a member of numerous organizations, including Beta Club, National Honor Society and Educational Talent Search and a member of the baseball team. He received the Monticello Banking Company’s Outstanding Student of the Month for service to school and community. He will attend Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist. He is the son of John and Lisa Lewis.

Baylee Logan Turner is a senior at Harlan High School. He is yearbook editor, class president, ROH CAPA (Honor History Society) and assistant director of Dragon Drama. He plans to attend Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College to earn an associate of arts degree. He plans to transfer to Berea College to double major in sociology and broadcast journalism. His career goal is to work as a foreign correspondent for a major news organization. He is the son of Brett and Paula Doepel-Turner.

FRED AND BETTY JO SHOTTON HAAS SCHOLARSHIPS

Makayla Whitaker attends Harlan County High School. She volunteers at the Cumberland Tourism Commission, Tri-City Main Street Program and Cumberland Historic District. She is a past member of the tennis and soccer teams. She is in 4-H Leadership. She plans to attend Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Her career goal is to work in correctional counseling. She is the daughter of Jim T. and Christy Whitaker. Whitaker is also a finalist for the Robert E. Frazier Foundation Scholarship.

HOME FEDERAL BANK

David Dakota “Cody” Saylor is a valedictorian at Harlan County High School and a member of the Gifted and Talented Program. He plans to attend Union College later to begin his post-secondary education. His career goal is to be an English professor. He has taken several dual credit classes, including English 101, DC Psychology, DC Biology, and College Algebra. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is a class valedictorian. He is the grandson of Barbara Saylor and the son of David DeWayne Saylor and the late Margaret Daniel Saylor.

ROBERT E. FRAZIER FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS

Emily Lynn Collett is a member of the softball team, First Priority, Educational Talent Search, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Rising Educators, and a Link Crew Leader. She plans to attend the University of Kentucky to double major in English and secondary education and minor in psychology. She plans to teach and then serve as a guidance counselor. She is the daughter of Rick and Tammy Collett.

Devyn Shoemaker is a member of the National Honor Society, Future business Leaders of America, Beta Club and Spanish honor Society. She participated in the KVEC Educational Summit and the Entrepreneurial Coal Lands Redevelopment Program. She plans to attend Alice Lloyd College to complete a bachelor’s of science degree in biology and then attend the University of Kentucky to pursue a doctorate in general human anatomy surgery. She is the daughter of Robin and Jeffery Shoemaker.