Nominations Will Be Open To Public
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County High School has created its first-ever "Hall of Distinguished Alumni" Committee, or HODA, for the purpose of honoring those which have attended Edmonson County Schools whose deeds, character, professionalism, sacrifice, heroism, or service to their community exemplify outstanding achievement in their life’s work.
ECHS Principal Jonathan Williams says that creating this honor was something he's wanted to do ever since he became principal at the high school and after some conversations with some local people, he's put together a committee to help navigate through the process that will honor deserving individuals.
"I first began talking about this with some folks that I thought may have experience in dealing with this, two of which were Mrs. Melinda Campbell and Mrs. Regina Byrd," he said. "Those conversations led to other people and everyone I talked to loved the idea because there are so many distinguished individuals that have come through the hallways of Edmonson County Schools."
Williams said he's always been proactive in dismissing the inferiority that so many have about the small-town nature of Edmonson County.
"I don't like when people say, 'well, for Edmonson County,' or 'we can't have that or do that in Edmonson County,' I don't believe that," he said. "We should always be proud of our county and I believe that having visual proof hanging on the walls out here of former students that have gone on to accomplish great things can help drive our students to achieve great things themselves."
Williams said after some research was done on how some surrounding counties have organized similar organizations, he began to explore the options of a HODA in Edmonson County.
"I went to our Site-Based Decision-Making Council and presented them some ideas I had and they authorized me to form a committee to oversee our HODA," he said. "It's a very diverse group of local people with various backgrounds that I believe will do a great job in this."
The HODA Committee is made up of the following: longtime Edmonson County school administrator Darrell Cassady, US Bank Financial Advisor Regina Byrd, ECHS language arts and English teacher Jessica Parsley, Edmonson Voice founder and Director Darren Doyle, WKU's Office of Philanthropy Donor Experience Senior Director Amanda Lich, former Mayor of Bowling Green and businessman Johnny Webb, KY Farm Bureau Agency Manager-Barren County Eric Spainhoward, and Principal Williams, all of which are ECHS graduates.
Eligibility requirements for being nominated as an Edmonson County Hall of Distinguished Alumi are still being discussed by the committee, but some requirements will likely include:
Principal Williams said no one has an agenda for nominees and a nominee doesn't have to be someone of wealthy stature.
"I think that's one of the things that makes us unique," he said. "Most other places, those that are honored are mostly wealthy people, and that's okay, we have that here, too. But if you think about it, you probably know someone that went to school in Edmonson County that influenced the lives of many, many people over the years that probably wasn't wealthy. Maybe some of those people will be nominated."
Williams said everyone he's spoken with about HODA has had someone come to mind during their conversation.
"As soon as I mention it, someone pops into mind," he said. "I think the most difficult part of this will be sorting through all the amazing nominees I expect us to receive. I'm looking forward to this process not only to honor those who are deserving, but also to learn the rich history we have in our county. I want to preserve that history for our students now and those to come and discover history from our trailblazers and influencers from times past."
The committee is still working on the details of the HODA but initial plans are to induct a class each year, with a higher number being inducted in the first year to help get the hall established. A banquet honoring the first class is in the works for sometime next year with details to come later. Honorary plaques for each inductee will be displayed in the front hall of ECHS.
So, did someone come to your mind while reading this? It's likely many of us will nominate the same people, and Williams said that's certainly okay. That can make the inducting process much easier in the beginning for sure; however, you may know someone that's been hidden or know a story about an individual that hasn't yet been told. Nominations for all potential HODA members will be open to the public soon.