On Thursday, December 6th, 2018, the HCCC Leadership Class embarked on a journey endeavoring to learn about the education system and educational infrastructure in Hardin County. We began our Education Day at McKendree University’s Radcliff campus. McKendree University recruiter Jazmine Black gave us an overview of the University and the opportunities available in Radcliff. She detailed their business, nursing, and criminal justice programs and how they tailor the higher education at McKendree to working adults.
After McKendree, we ventured over to North Hardin Christian School. Bewildered by directional advice from our own Jamie Neaderhiser, we confusingly found our way to the Fellowship Baptist Chapel (the church with which NHC shares a common history and campus). There we met Shellie Washer, the Director of Finance and IT at NHC and her parents Paige and Debbie Hardin, the founders of NHC. We watched an informational video and then heard from Shellie, who was NHC’s first graduate. We listened to the speakers as they told us about NHC’s history and how the school functions in today’s society and how NHC has found a welcoming community in Hardin County. With about 400 pupils, NHC is thriving today. After touring the campus, I think we all left quite impressed.
From NHC, we traveled to John Hardin High School, Hardin County’s newest high school and the alma mater of at least one of our classmates. Before going into John Hardin we entered the Performing Arts Center. The Director of the Performing Arts Center Bart Lovins introduced us to the PAC and gave us a tour of their facilities including the massive auditorium that hosts productions throughout the year.
After touring the PAC we met our hosts at John Hardin, Principal Mark Wells and Hardin County Schools Director of Community Relations John Wright. Principal Wells gave us an overview of John Hardin High School and the goings on of Hardin County’s newest and smallest High School and what life is like in between Radcliff and Elizabethtown.
We were able to see some classrooms in action. We heard a presentation from John Hardin’s DECA organization and stopped in to see what the Family and Consumer Science class was up to and the fundraising they were doing. We saw the FFA Issues team in action developing their plan for an upcoming competition. And finally, we met with the JRTOC (Go Army!) class and heard about the value that JROTC has added to the lives of the students.
After completing the tour of John Hardin, we took our lunch and continued a conversation with Principal Wells and Mr. Wright. We discussed the value of our public school system and heard of the dedication that our teachers have. After a provocative question from one of our classmates, Mr. Wright began a—let’s say impassioned—explanation and argument against charter schools. It was a lively, entertaining, and educational lunch conversation.
With our hunger satisfied and our minds ready to be blown yet again, we traveled to the very impressive Hardin County Schools’ Early College and Career Center—colloquially known as EC3—and met Principal Dan Robbins. At EC3 we saw the wildly remarkable culinary arts kitchen and classroom, the incredible automotive center, and the awe-inspiring welding and metalworking facilities. We were also privileged to see the IT, engineering, and avionics programs in action. EC3 is an incredible program and facility that serves all Hardin County Schools and provides our students with second-to-none scholastic opportunities that will doubtlessly serve them the rest of their lives.
We heard from the Hardin County Schools Director of Health and Family Services Janay Sutton. Ms. Sutton detailed for us the services offered by our Family Resource/Youth Service Center (FRYSC) Coordinators. These FRYSC professionals offer a wide range of desperately needed services to our local families and youth to help make the lives of our students more conducive to education. Their work is nothing less than inspirational.
We ended our Education Day filled will knowledge of and confidence in the opportunities the next generation of Hardin County leaders are afforded through the dedicated professionals that have the honor and responsibility of educating them.
Shelt Michael Lewis
Assistant Hardin County Attorney
Hardin County Attorney’s Office