Education notes of interest in Fayette County

Richard Plymale
Richard Plymale Photo provided


▪ Richard Plymale will receive a distinguished alumnus award from his high school on Sept. 2 at an alumni banquet in Louisa. He is being honored for his commitment to community service and career achievement.

Plymale, 85, has lived in Lexington for more than 50 years. Over the past 22 years, he was active in the Fort Gay (W.V.) High School Alumni Association. A 1947 high school graduate, he resigned in June from the alumni board, where he served as president for 20 years. During his tenure, the alumni group established a memorial scholarship through Marshall University Foundation in Huntington, W.V. He was instrumental in the endowment’s growth to its current level, which includes a corpus of $350,000, and the sharing of $12,000 annually by four Marshall students.

▪ Three Fayette County principals have begun a year-long executive-level leadership training course usually reserved for the nation’s top CEOs. An advisory board made up of business leaders and school superintendents chose these women for the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Institute for School Principals: Jennifer Fish of Lansdowne Elementary, Leigh Ann McLaughlin of Southern Elementary and Meredith Ramage of Northern Elementary

▪ Mackenzie Clay, a rising senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, recently attended Girls Nation in Washington as one of two Kentucky senators. She was sponsored by American Legion Post No. 313 in Lexington. Earlier this summer, Mackenzie participated in Girls State at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, where peers elected her secretary of state and a Kentucky senator.

Mackenzie is a nationally competitive athlete at Legacy Gymnastics and a member of Dunbar’s National Honor Society and the Beta Club leadership team; she also volunteers at the local VA hospital. Mackenzie plans to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy.

▪ Eleven graduate students in Eastern Kentucky University’s communication disorders program recently received scholarships from Scottish Rite.

The organization awarded each student a $4,300 scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year. Since 2006, Scottish Rite has awarded about $320,000 in scholarships to first-year graduate students in communication disorders at EKU.

This year’s recipients are: Kristen Baker and Bethany Grubbs, Pineville; Allison Burton, Somerset; Myranda Carpenter, Corbin; Charity Clark, Richmond; Molly DeArmond, Lexington; Raylee Kirkland, Mayslick; Zoe Mires, Madison, Ind.; Jamie Murphy, Robinson, Ill.; Brittany O’Brien, Louisville; and Katelin Plumley, Paintsville.

For more information about the program, go to

▪ Nearly 3,000 students presented their work in this summer’s National History Day Contest, touting the 2015-16 theme “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.” Four entrants carried the banner for Fayette County Public Schools during the June 12-16 national conference at the University of Maryland.

In the senior division, Stanford-bound Amir Abou-Jaoude captured first place with his paper “A Pure Invention: Japan, Impressionism, and the West, 1853-1906.” Amir, who graduated in May from the Liberal Arts Academy at Henry Clay High School, was also featured in a Time magazine article about his 200-hour independent research project and 2,500-word paper.

In the junior division, Lily Gardner of Winburn Middle School received first-place honors for individual website with “An Unrepentant Risk Taker: Paul Durand-Ruel Encountering Parisian Culture.” In addition, Winburn’s Claire Qian and Rocco Wrentmore earned the honor of Kentucky’s outstanding entry for their group website “Qian Xuesen: Exchange of a Scientist of Two Worlds.”

▪ Henry Clay High School 2014 graduate James Leavell-Greene has accepted membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. James is entering his junior year at the University of Louisville and has made the dean’s honor list. He is a Woodford R. Porter Scholarship recipient and the 2014 Central Kentucky YMCA Black Achiever. His parents are JoJuana Leavell-Greene and Vincent Greene.