Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Today, August 11, 2023, Edmonson County High School held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Local Area Vocational Education Centers (LAVEC). In February of this year, the Kentucky Governor's office granted Edmonson County $10,000,000 to expand the vocational wing of ECHS, to enhance trade skill opportunities for students.
The ceremony started by ECHS senior Chaney Browning welcoming all those who were in attendance. She also gave thanks to the Governor's Office and everyone else who had a helping hand in making this project possible. Sophomore Evelyn Ulm then led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.*
Chamber of Commerce President Darren Doyle thanked the Governor's Office and the General Assembly for putting politics aside, and everyone that got on the same page for the benefit of Edmonson County's students and future, as well as many other schools in Kentucky. He described the funding for the new facility as "life-changing" for many in the community.
"As a local business owner who tries to sell advertising every day, I know how hard it is for people to come up with an extra 10 dollars, let alone $10 million."
Superintendent Brian Alexander also gave his thanks and he spoke on the importance of this project and what it will do for the community of Edmonson County.
"I had a visitor stop by my office the other day who is about a year-and-a-half old, and it made me realize it's the children like her who we are doing this for. Kids her age will never remember what this school looked like before this project came along, and I am looking forward to the opportunities she and others will have because of this project," he said.
ECHS School Board Chair Alexander Ulm expressed his gratitude for this opportunity. He thanked not only those who had a helping hand in getting this grant money, but also all of the construction crew members for their work, on the project as well, as it "could not be done without their hard work."
State Representative Michael Lee Meredith mentioned that Edmonson County is one of the eleven school districts who received this grant, and he said it was a great honor to have received this money.
"You can go just about anywhere in the region and find out that some of the very best workers with any type of skill trade come from right here in Edmonson County, and being able to expand this part of the school is only going to increase that," Meredith said.
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman said it was an honor to be at the ceremony today.
"I know it's already been said that we finally got everyone on the same page to make this happen, but I just want to say this situation isn't about politics, it's not about what side of the fence you're on, it's strictly about student's education, having our teacher's backs, and creating opportunities. Governor Beshear and I are more than happy to be able to grant you all this money."
In February, Governor Beshear went on a tour of the school's current vocational facilities, that included business, healthcare, engineering, ag, auto shop, and welding, all of which look much the same as they did over 40 years ago. The new facility will be the new home for the aforementioned vocational programs at ECHS and is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2024.
*Editor's note: We apologize for not having a photo of Evelyn; however, we also stood and recited the Pledge at that time.