The sentiment has long been shared; a great deal more can be done when people choose to work together. The communities within Hart County have brought to life these words as the Green River College and Career Academy is within sight.
Thursday, April 19 educators, school board members, school administrators, health care professionals, industry leaders, and local politicians all came together to celebrate the official groundbreaking for the Green River College and Career Academy that is set to open to students in 2019.
The academy is a dream that many in the county have held onto for a long time, pushing to give students the opportunity to receive a well rounded education in fields of their interest in Hart County so they have the opportunity later to choose to stay and work in Hart County.
This effort was not accomplished with the efforts of educators alone but in the community coming together to ensure that the county was achieving the potential within.
“Terry (Martin) and I have been fighting for this for a long time, and others too,” said current Hart County schools’ Superintendent Ricky Line. “The next 50 years this is going to effect our kids. What we’re doing for our vocational and the Green River Academy is going to, for the next 50 years, let our people stay right here, and come home, and have a good job right here too, and train the people.”
“This is probably the biggest thing Hart County has had in a long time,” echoed Hart County Judge/Executive Terry Martin.
Opportunities began in the 2017-18 school year as a donation from the DART Foundation made the Industrial Maintenance program at Caverna possible.
“Dart donation provided $182,000 for equipment to put into the industrial maintenance classroom, so we are certifying kids from both school systems in electrical mechanics and maintenance repair,” said Amanda Abell, Assistant Superintendent of Caverna Independent Schools.
The new facility will offer a variety of courses and certifications.
“In this building we will house IT, business, and in that we will have two pathways- accounting and administrative support. We will also house transportation, and in that we will have the pathway of engine repair, diesel mechanic, and electrical technician. We have allied health, and within that sector we will have pharmacy tech and certified nursing assistant (CNA), which is now called pre-nursing. Many of those will be offered at night for adults, including the CNA, and we want to offer CDL, EMT, and paramedic training, and we are hoping lineman, in the future. We want to grow, we have to start and do well at the beginning to make sure the foundation is solid so we can go forth and expand,” said Debbie Fowler, Supervisor of Instruction (9-12) for Hart County Schools.
Decisions concerning what would be offered in the Academy were in large part made with the help of local businesses.
“Everything we did with this was dictated by the businesses. With Virginia Davis we sat around for nine months and said, what do the businesses want. Cornelius (Faulkner, Superintendent, Caverna Independent Schools) and I sat back and said, if they come up that they need apple pickers, we are going to have an apple picker class- whatever they come up with, we’re going to have. He and I both agreed our feelings and wants were off the table, because I have my wants in the building, he has his wants in his, but this had to be business, and it was, every bit of it, and we’re proud of that,” said Line.
DART has recently offered Hart County another $50,000 to fund business courses, which will begin in the existing school building in January 2019.
$3.25 million was awarded to the project last year by a grant through the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet, with the Hart County Fiscal Court, Hart County Industrial Authority, City of Horse Cave, and other businesses in the community contributing as well.
“We are very excited about the opportunities it has for our community, and we so thank the Fiscal Court, Hart County Industrial Authority, and all of you who have donated. Many businesses and corporations have donated, and we appreciate it so much,” said Fowler.
A timeline has the new Hart County High School opening October 5 of this year with Fall Break providing a transition period and the gymnasium finishing in mid November. The Green River Academy will be completed in the spring/early summer of 2019 to be officially opened for full classes in the fall of 2019.
“It is special how the community has come together for this,” said Dr. Joe Middleton. “As an employer, I need these folks.”
It was once said, “the greatest power for change is a community finding what it cares about,” and the reality of the Green River College and Career Academy as the work is now underway is a true testament to the power within community.