School News Archives 2014

December 2014

Christmas Card Winner


Photo by Eugenia Jones

The Christmas card design of Brianna Bryant, an eleven year old student at Whitley City Elementary, was recently selected as the winning card design for the official 2014 McCreary County School District Christmas card.   Her design was chosen from those submitted by students from across the school district.

Brianna, a member of the school’s Art Club, would like to pursue art as a career when she graduates.  Pictured above at the Good Shepherd Community Christmas event with her mother, Billie Bryant, Brianna selected the Colossal Art Set with 315 pieces as a special gift to assist her with her artwork.  Brianna’s Whitley City Elementary School Art teacher and club sponsor is Mrs. Sandy Hamlin.

PKI Homecoming


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4th Grade Princess Raiden Blakley being escorted by Jason Burchfield, 5th Grade Princess Kaylee Clark being escorted by Colin Johnson, and 6th Grade Homecoming Queen being escorted by Alex Whitehead.

Singing Christmas Carols

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Whitley City Elementary 4th/5th/ 6th grade Girls and Boys Basketball along with Darlena Barton’s classroom, Coaches Mindy Creekmore, Michelle Strunk, Eric Corder, and Garred Corder visited the Pine Knot Rehabilitation center to sing Christmas Carols and hand out gifts to the residents.

Santa visits McCreary County Preschool

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Santa came to visit the students of McCreary County Preschool on Dec. 3rd, 2014.

A salute to those who are serving our country

As I woke up this morning with a call from the school that I was needed to be a sub, I thought of my warm comfy bed, but decided to sub instead. I knew today was Veteran’s Day and the kids were excited. I donned my best red, white and blue outfit and headed to school for a day of teaching. Little did I know, I would be the one learning the lesson today. I have taught in just about every type of school: Public, Charter, Parochial, Private. What I saw today was an amazing community coming together to salute those who are serving our country and those who come before us.

As the children gathered in the gym at Pine Knot Primary there was a buzz about the room. There were parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins all in their uniform. The kids were so excited to have their loved ones there, and of course very proud. I felt like every child there knew of someone in the military. The gym was decorated very patriotically with art from the children, to the prayer table for our POW and MIA. The children sang beautifully, thanks to the wonderful work done by Mr. Stone and the ceremony was truly beautiful. I have never in my 15 years of teaching seen such a touching Veteran’s Day. ceremony. It made my heart proud to be an American, proud to remember why we are able to live free, and proud to have a cousin now serving in the Middle East.

Thank you Pine Knot Primary for reminding me yet again what a beautiful school and community I get to work for.

Sonya Proffitt

Annual 3rd grade chapter book challenge at PKP

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Pine Knot Primary 3rd Graders had the opportunity to participate once again in a Chapter Book Challenge.  Students were required to read 5 qualifying chapter books within their individual reading levels and pass the Accelerated Reader quiz with an 80% or above within a 4 week period.  Student participation was on a voluntary basis.  These students completed the challenge and received special awards and recognition in front of their peers.  We are very proud of these students for their efforts.

Back row: Chelsea King, Andrea Bruce, Hunter Privett, Ben Foster, Blake Robinson, Kayden Thompson and T. J. King.

Middle row: Tera Strunk, Megan Loudermilk, Kynder Spradlin, Riley Foster, Seth Creekmore, Kierra Vanover and Tate Sandidge.

Front row: Savannah Roberts, Ethan Stevens, Emmanuel Meadows and Allison West

Not Pictured: Kaleb Ellis and Courtney Meadows

Area Middle School Students Participate In Girls Exploring Math And Science (Gems) Conference


Somerset - Somerset Community College (SCC) hosted a Girls Exploring Math and Science Conference (GEMS) recently on the SCC Somerset campus. Students from twelve area middle schools including Casey, Cumberland, McCreary, Meece, North Laurel, Northern, Rockcastle, Russell, Science Hill, Somerset Christian, Southern and Wayne County took part in the conference.

GEMS was created as a way to encourage female students to consider mathematics-oriented and science-oriented careers, to gain confidence in mathematics and science and to take advanced level mathematics and science courses in high school. The GEMS program is designed to promote the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) program which promotes a larger and more diverse science and engineering workforce.

The conference began with SCC Provost Dr. Tony Honeycutt welcoming the students and their sponsors to the conference. Dr. Honeycutt encouraged the group to actively participate in the workshops and career expo and to seriously consider math, science, engineering and technology as career choices.

After the welcome, each student participated in workshops focused on five occupations or career areas: 3D printing and robotic welding, electrical engineering and electronics, culinary arts, aeronautics and space and respiratory therapy.

The 3D printing and robotic welding workshop was hosted by Eric Wooldridge, mechanical engineer and SCC associate professor, Karl Watson, SCC associate professor and Scott Stringer, SCC instructional specialist. The electrical engineering and electronics workshop was hosted by Curt Null, SCC assistant professor in Electronics/Electrical Technology and Phillip Moran, SCC assistant professor of Electronics/Electrical Technology. The culinary arts workshop was hosted by SCC Chefs Michael Wells, Ed Nazario and Michelle Farrington. The respiratory therapy workshop was hosted by Jess Hoskins, SCC Advanced-Level Respiratory Therapist program director, Jason Asher, SCC director of clinical education, Angie Mills, SCC laboratory director, and SCC respiratory therapy students Kristin Helmer and Jillian Morrison. The aeronautics and space workshop was hosted by Tom Cravens, director of the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky.

After lunch from Fazoli’s and workshops, each student attended a career expo where they were able to meet STEM professionals and participate in hands-on activities at each STEM booth, which included: automotive technology, aviation technology, construction technology, cosmetology, pre-medicine and pre-pharmacy, biology, math and natural sciences, radiography, industrial maintenance technology, medical laboratory technology, physical therapy assistant, paramedic technology, pharmacy technology, surgical technology, radiography, Robotic Innovative Group, Project Lead the Way and financial aid and scholarships.

SCC Student Ambassadors were assigned to assist the groups. The ambassadors were: Cassandra Casada, Shannon Plagge, Rebecca Dunmore, Parth Patel, Caitlyn Huff, Audrey Lovell, Abi Perkins, Autumn Smith, Christian Miller and Teia Daniel.

GEMS Team Members include: Carol Calcaterra, Cindy Byrd, Judy Covey, Tanya Cowan,  Veronica DeBord, Martha Deitz, Carrie Fitzpatrick, Jamie Foster, Alesa Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Scott McClendon, Ronald Meade, Karen Plagge, DeAnna Proctor, Cecilia Ramilo, Gail Stringer and Jennifer Wilson.

Somerset Community College is a comprehensive two-year institution of higher education. SCC has campuses in Somerset and London, and centers in Clinton, McCreary, Casey, and Russell counties. For admission and program information, visit their website at

November 2014

Head Start visits Sally Gap Pumpkin Patch

Native American Pow Wow

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Culture is the way of life shared by a group of people, including their ideas and traditions.  In America’s multicultural society, students need to understand that culture influences viewpoints, social rules, and social institutions. We took our 5th grade students to an authentic Native American Pow Wow. At this event we saw elements of Native American cultures, like dance, music, and even how they hunted. It was a terrific event and our students learned a great deal about the differences between “Indian” tribes and our own cultures.

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Native American Projects: The projects for the 5th grade was 4 fold. It included the elements of model building of Native American dwellings, an authentic Native American Origin Story, Poser Board that held many elements of their culture and tied it all together, and finally several Native American handmade artifacts. Our students had a great deal of fun not only making them but also created a mini museum in which parents and community members were active participants in the event.

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Candy Wilson, director of the Lake Cumberland Community Orchestra, gave a violin demonstration at Pine Knot Intermediate.  She offers violin lessons afters school every Thursday for a minimal charge to interested students.  Ms. Candy started playing at age 9 and attended Morehead State University on a violin scholarship.  She is a retired librarian from Russell County.  McCreary County students are also members of the orchestra.  The Christmas concert will be December 14, 2014 at 3pm et at the Russell County Auditorium.  Everyone is invited to attend this free concert.

Career Day at Pine Knot Intermediate

The students at Pine Knot Intermediate had a week where students learning about different careers.  Business owners from the community came to PKI and discussed what it takes to run a business as well as how many different jobs it takes to keep the business running.  Students created a portfolio showing what they learned about the career that they are interested in.  Students were also able to dress up in the attire they needed for their career.  A contest was done for the best portfolios and costumes.  There was a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place given in each grade.  The first place portfolio winners received a gift card.  The other winners won a gift from PKI Family Resource.

Career Book


4th Grade - 1st Place    Kaylie Kidd - Fashion Designer, 2nd Place   Charrene Elkins - Veterinarian, 3rd Place     Hunter Benson - Police Officer.

5th Grade - 1st Place     Macy Daugherty - Pediatric Nursing, 2nd Place    Lily Slaven -  Archeologist, 3rd Place     Nick Kendziorski - Marine Biologist.

6th Grade - 1st Place    Ashlyn Slaven -  Fashion Designer,  2nd Place   Gracie Sims - Veterinarian, 3rd Place    Lance Cagle - Carpenter, Honorable Mention: Cortney Phillips - Actress,  Reis Anderson - Graphic Design

Costume Contest:

4th Grade - 1st Place    Mercedes Bundy    - Model, 2nd Place   Autumn Smith - Pediatrician, 3rd Place    Abby Johnson - Teacher.

5th Grade - 1st Place     Grant Stephens - Logger, 2nd Place    Lily Slaven - Archeologist, 3rd Place, Logan Creekmore - Constable.

6th Grade - 1st Place     Kataya Smith - Artist, 2nd Place   Nate Howard - Kingsford Employee, 3rd Place    Dawson Gibson - Scientist.

McCreary Central High School Spanish Club Trip


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Sponsor Ms Favella, Chaperones Eddie Stephens and Jennifer Wilson

Places visited: Horse Park where students visited the Arabian Pavillion, as well as, the International Horse show. The students then visited Keenland where the October races are held. The weather was very nice and warm and it was an exciting trip for our young people. The attending pupils were was dressed to the nines as we all watched and cheered on the horses. The trip was not only educational, but very exciting and fun for the Spanish Club members.

Ronald McDonald at McCreary County Preschool

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Ronald McDonald came to McCreary County Preschool On Oct. 23rd, 2014, the children got to be a part of a fun and entertaining magic show about how books can take you on an adventure throughout the world.

 A Native American Cinderella

Several 4th grade students from Whitley City Elementary presented a drama entitled “A Native American Cinderella” to an audience of their friends, family, and fellow students. For the past 6 weeks, a group of 13 fourth grade students have been working diligently preparing for their upcoming performance. From reciting lines and designing costumes, to bringing in props and constructing the scenery, the students have gone above and beyond to make their play successful. Mrs. Musgrove would like to to say thank you to all students, their families, and staff who supported this production. It was a huge hit! Pictures include:  Brayden Newton, Micheal Wainscott, Wyatt Anderson, Daniel Johnson, Brady Corder, Libby Sumner, Kyley Mitchell, Callie Foster, Olivia King​, Raylee Strunk, Jayci Bell, Ally Sullivan, and MaKya Mitchell.

Dressing for the Cause 


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On Friday, October 31st the staff of McCreary County Middle School dressed up for the first annual Relay for Life “Dressing for a Cause” fundraiser. The final day of the schools “Spirit Week” – Halloween – allowed for staff members to dress in costume and collect donations from students throughout the day. Students could give as little as a penny or more to their favorite dressed up staff member. While some teachers took to the competitive side in order to raise money, others just did it for the cause to support Cancer Awareness. The top three staff members to raise money were Dottie Cotton ($109.74), Micah Wolf ($80.82) and Pam Clark ($33.65). The total contribution collected that will be given to the local Relay for Life was $358.82.

WCE Pumpkin Decorating Contest

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The students of Whitley City Elementary joined together to participate in a school wide Pumpkin Decorating Contest. This year’s contest was to promote reading among students of all ages. Students were asked to decorate their pumpkins like one of their favorite book characters. With nearly 100 students participating in the event, the WCE library was filled with an assortment of characters...ranging from Charlotte’s Web and Judy Moody, to The Cat in the Hat and The Rainbow Fish. The following pictures include the student participants from each grade level, and the 6 overall winners. We would like to thank all students, staff, and families that helped to make this special event possible!

October 2014

Fire Safety

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On Sept. 24th, 2014, Steven King, Justin Ball and Justin Cox from  South McCreary Fire Dept. came to McCreary County Preschool to talk with the students about the importance of  smoke detectors and fire safety.  We would like to say Thank You


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The McCreary Head Start wins Best Use of Theme at the McCreary Fest Parade.

The bookmobile visits the McCreary Head Start

The 2015 Rogers Scholars program is now accepting applications

The Center for Rural Development is accepting applications now through Jan. 31 for the 2015 summer session of the Rogers Scholars youth leadership program.

Rogers Scholars is an intensive one-week summer leadership program for upcoming high school juniors within The Center’s 45-county primary service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The program emphasizes the development of technological skills and builds in participants a sense of leadership, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to rural Kentucky.

“The Rogers Scholars program is an experience of a lifetime,” said 2014 Rogers Scholars graduate Kyle Back. “I don’t think there is a better program in Kentucky. Rogers Scholars changed my life.”

Students apply during their sophomore year in high school and are selected through a competitive screening process to attend one of two summer leadership sessions of the Rogers Scholars program.

“I have seen first-hand how the Rogers Scholars program can change the lives of youth in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “The program provides Scholars with real-life experiences in fields such as healthcare and technology, and gives them a chance to understand all that is available to them as a career path, including starting their own business. What’s more, the program gives them access to scholarship opportunities that enables them to continue on with their education.”

The program, launched by The Center in 1998, provides leadership and exclusive college scholarship opportunities for high school students to develop their full potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

“The community service component of the program is very important to the future growth and sustainability of the Appalachian region of Kentucky,” said Delaney Stephens, community liaison and youth programs coordinator for The Center. “The Rogers Scholars program provides our youth with essential leadership skills that serve as the foundation of future academic and entrepreneurial endeavors, and inspires them to pursue their career right at home in Kentucky.”

Applicants may download a copy of the 2015 Rogers Scholars application form from the Youth Programs at The Center for Rural Development website at All application forms must be completed and submitted to The Center by Jan. 31, 2015.

The Center strongly encourages applicants to email their application forms and supporting documents to Applications may be mailed to the Rogers Scholars program, The Center for Rural Development, 2292 S. Highway 27, Suite 300, Somerset, Ky., 42501.

The 2015 dates for the Rogers Scholars program are June 21-26 and July 12-17. Rogers Scholars—The Center’s flagship youth program—is provided free of charge to participants. Lodging and meals are included.

During the last 16 years, 996 high school students have graduated from the Rogers Scholars program, and potential scholarships valued at more than $7.2 million have been offered to graduates by 17 participating colleges and universities.

For more information on the application process or the Rogers Scholars program, contact Delaney Stephens at 606-677-6000.

Native American Song & Dance

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Pine Knot Primary students learn about Native American song and dance before participating with the Native American visitor.

School Tutoring Program 

Beginning October 14 th tutoring will be offered  at the McCreary County Public Library on Tuesdays & Fridays from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Tutors are volunteers from McCreary Central High School. Participants will enjoy a nutritious snack provided by the God's Food Pantry. For more information contact Ms. Tracy in the children's area, call 376-8738 or email

 October is Head Start Awareness Month

Proclamation Signing


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The staff and children from the McCreary County Head Start went to the Judge Executive’s office to have Doug Stephens sign the proclamation on October 8, 2014.

Firehouse Tour

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The children and staff of McCreary County Head Start toured the Whitley City Firehouse on October 7, 2014. They also had lunch with some of the volunteers.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Photo by Greg Bird

Pine Knot Primary students earned the opportunity to drench their teachers as part of an Ice Bucket Challenge.



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This year the McCreary County Farm Bureau sponsored the chapter shirts for the McCreary Central FFA Chapter. This is an awesome gesture which helps the members of the group in several ways. At yesterday’s meeting, several of the members of the Executive Team from the FFA Chapter showed up at the Farm Bureau monthly board meeting to express their gratitute for the gesture. Pictured are front row left to right: Jogh Lay, Bryson Watters, Timothy Perry, Chelsea Stephens, Kaitlyn Wilson, Christin Kidd, and Lora Pryor. Back row left to right: Josh Bruce, JC Perry, Jeff Kidd, Colby Stephens, Skyler Jones, and Jackie Stephens.

PKP Heritage Day

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Julie Gay lead Pine Knot Primary students as they Do-Sa-Do and Promenade through a square dance performance at  the McCreary Center Somerset Community College Heritage Day.

Pine Knot Primary Employee of the Month

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Pine Knot Primary School is very proud of every individual in our school! We have chosen to recognize a staff member each month who has gone the extra mile. Mrs. Rhea Gilreath has been chosen by her peers for the month of September as Employee of the month. Mrs. Gilreath is a Special Needs teacher who goes above and beyond every day. She has had perfect attendance and works tirelessly with our students and staff! Pictured with Mrs. Gilreath is her son, Max, a kindergarten student at PKPS! Congratulations Mrs. Gilreath. You are appreciated!

Pine Knot Primary School Career Days

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Pine Knot Primary School students were given the opportunity to participate in a Career Book Making Contest in Ms. Darla King’s Art class. The books consisted of students using the Element of Art, Principles of Design, Artistic Expression , Narrative work of Art, the use of functional artistic objects used in everyday Art and a basic understanding of how to use Media to create artworks. The books were displayed in the gym and judged. The photos contain pictures of the students career books, participants and the students who won 1st place! Pine Knot Primary School has lots of TALENT! Congratulations Bear Cubs!

Pine Knot Intermediate School 2014-2015 Science Fair


The winners were announced Monday afternoon at Pine Knot Intermediate School’s 2014-2015 Science Fair, with six students in three age groups of the competition being given trophies for their hard work.  Kristen Phillips, the fourth grade science teacher, said the Science Fair challenges students to apply the scientific method and produce conclusive results. To use the scientific method, you have to have a variable and a control. For a simple project, many of the students like to do product testing, like which laundry detergent works the best.  First, they have to make a hypothesis or a good guess about what they think will happen. Then they actually conduct the experiment and reach a conclusion.   Sometimes, they will discover that what they thought would happen doesn’t and that is such a great learning experience for them.”

The fourth grade first place winner was Bryce Anderson.  Bryce’s experiment compared filtered cigarettes and non-filter cigarettes and their effects.  Bryce said that he learned that smoking is really bad for you.  All cigarettes are bad but if you have to smoke at least smoke one with a filter.  I think if you showed people my experiment they would probably think about what they are doing to their bodies and hopefully quit.” Bryce’s Grandfather has lung cancer so this was especially important concept for him to research and explore.  This was just only one of over 100 great experiments that Pine Knot Intermediate’s future scientists conducted.

The winners were:

4th Grade - 3rd Place:  Caroline Richmond:  Experiment Hottest the Longest, 2nd Place:  Chloe Stephens:  Experiment Storing Apples, 1st Place Winner:  Bryce Anderson:  Experiment Compare the effects of Filter and Non-Filter Cigarettes.

5th Grade - 2nd Place:  Kadence Garland:  Experiment Milk Streams, 1st Place Winner:  Matthew Pugh:  Experiment Solar Electricity.

6th Grade - 1st Place Winner:  Nate Howard:  Experiment Which Popcorn Pops the Fastest.

Community Helper

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On Oct. 21st, 2014 State Trooper Craig Reed came to McCreary County Preschool to talk to the children about being a community helper, he talked to the students about the importance of car seat safety. We would like to say Thank you to Craig for coming.

September 2014

The Pine Knot Art and Humanities Club attends the Kentucky State Fair


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The Pine Knot Art and Humanities Club recently attended the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was a first time experience for almost all of the students and parents. According to teacher Paige Hatfield Bryant, everyone had a wonderful time.

Pine Knot Primary School students learn about the ways the Native Americans communicated

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Pine Knot Primary School students in Mrs. Darla Kings Art class are learning about the ways the Native Americans communicated. The students will experience making visual artwork created by themselves for a variety of purposes; artworks that tell stories, and describes and illustrates the communication ideas in Native American Culture. The pictures are of students drawing and making visual art as the native Americans did years ago.

Tyler Powers joins KHEAA as outreach counselor for McCreary County

FRANKFORT ) — Tyler Powers has joined the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) as an outreach counselor helping students and families in McCreary County.

“I look forward to helping those who have the desire to pursue a college education,” he said. “I can’t wait to start working with counselors in McCreary County so we can reach as many people as possible.”

In addition to schools, Powers will work with adult education centers, state agencies and other groups. He can be reached at or (606) 273-9644.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Tyler to the KHEAA Outreach Team,” KHEAA Director of Outreach Services Susan Hopkins said. “His experience as a college access professional will make him a wonderful advocate for students and families and an asset to our efforts.”

Powers is a native of Harlan and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. Before joining KHEAA, he worked for Morehead State University as a college access counselor in Harlan, Bell, and Leslie counties.

KHEAA is the state agency that administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), need-based grants and other programs to help students pay their higher education expenses.

To learn how to plan and prepare for higher education, go to For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7372.

Library goes to preschool

Rhonda Kendziorski from the McCreary County Public Library came to preschool to talk to the students about the Bookmobile and how the public library helps the community. The students got to tour the bookmobile and also have storytime inside the bookmobile.