CCPS inducts inaugural class into hall of fame

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

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History was made at GRC Arena last Saturday, and it was not of the hoops variety.

The inaugural class of the Clark County Public Schools (CCPS) Hall of Fame was announced between the boys and girls’ basketball doubleheader.

“This was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life,” said Mayor JoEllen Reed, one of the inductees. “I’m used to being the one that hands out the honors, not receiving the honors. I think this is a very special thing that the Clark County school system is now endeavoring to do.”

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The CCPS Hall of Fame was created to recognize individuals who have contributed to their profession and community and practice character qualities, including perseverance, self-discipline, curiosity, honesty and responsibility.

Part of the brain trust that created the hall of fame was CCPS Chief Operations Officer Brandon Watkins and Superintendent Dustin Howard.

“I thought this was an awesome event for the community. It was super exciting to see a lot of the faces…from athletics to academics here in Clark County”, Watkins said. “ Dustin [Howard] kind of set the vision for this Hall of Fame.”

Information on potential inductees was sought from various community members, and district staff learned much about the history of George Rogers Clark High School and Clark County along the way.

To qualify, individuals needed to meet specific criteria, such as former students having graduated at least six years prior.

The inductees represented a variety of professions.

Those with an athletic background included former students and professional football players Yeremiah Bell and Arthur Brooks, professional baseball player and GRC coach Matt Ginter, coaches Don Danko, E.J. Hooper, Marty Joyce, Letcher Norton, and Guy Strong, and basketball players Larry Gay, Lisa Goodin, and Sally Malley.

Former WKYT President and General Manager Wayne Martin was inducted as was retired senior judge with the Kentucky Court of Justice Julia Hylton Adams.

“Julia and I have been friends literally since we were five years old, and I’m sure neither one of us on the playground ever thought we’d be able to do these things today and be honored in such a special way,” Reed said.

Individuals who have impacted education – including former Superintendent Elaine Farris and Principal Robert D. Campbell – were honored.

Emmett “Buzz” Burman, a 1969 graduate, was one of many individuals whose accomplishments at George Rogers Clark High School and in other fields varied.

A football player who received a full scholarship to play at the University of Kentucky, Burnam currently works at UK’s Office of Enrollment Management as director of diversity undergraduate student recruitment.

“The classrooms in Clark County really paved the way for me, starting back in the public school system,” said Burnam. “I’ve been really happy to know that my background…was good enough to pave the way for me.”

As the ceremony got underway, inductees were named to the applause of those in attendance.

Each walked to the center area of the court to receive an official induction plaque.

Family members surrounded many, and some came to represent honorees that have since passed away.

For those that did not make the initial list of inductees, there will be another round of nominations later this year.

“I’m really excited about the next round for this inaugural 2023 class”, Watkins said. “We’re going to finish it off in the fall at a football game, and I think it’s awesome and keeps that momentum rolling.”