Bronelle Skaggs’ journey to the Mayo school was unconventional.
He was a teacher at Bryan Station High School in Lexington when he came home one night and told his wife he had resigned.
With two children and a wife, his future seemed uncertain, but perhaps it was fate when less than two weeks later, then-Mayo Technical School director George Ramey called asking Skaggs to come to work in Paintsville.
The rest, as they say, is history, and Skaggs’ imprint on the school has been long lasting — and it remains today.
“If you stand in front of the Mayo Mansion and look to your right, there’s a church, and you look to the left, and there’s a school — those are three tremendous foundations of society,” Skaggs said during a ribbon cutting of the opening of the new Mayo park last week. “When you add family, that’s all you need.”
This year, Big Sandy Community and Technical College is celebrating three milestone anniversaries, including 75 years of service on the Mayo campus. The former Prestonsburg Community College campus is celebrating 50 years, and together, Big Sandy Community and Technical College is celebrating 10 years.
Skaggs, who served as a regional administrator of the school’s Regional Organization for Providing Educational Services program until his retirement in 1992, told a story about a time when he went to borrow money for a construction project. They asked what collateral he had. His reply, “None.”
“I told the banker, ‘All I have is a good name in the community,’” he recalled.
A few days later, he got a call from the bank and his loan application was approved.
“There has always been a symbolic relationship with the community and the school,” Skaggs continued. “As long as you work for the common good and benefit of people, you shall survive.”
Robert Conley echoed those words in his comments to those in attendance. As an emeritus board member for BSCTC, he said the Mayo school set the standard from its inception. Constructed in 1938, the school was formed to help train individuals in war communications during World War II.
“The Mayo school helped win World War II,” he said. Conley started serving on the board at Prestonsburg Community College in 1975. He’s been board member emeritus since 1991.
As a school, Mayo has been on the front lines of work-force transformations, from the various coal booms over the decades, to training those in support roles such as welders, diesel mechanics, electricians and truck drivers, and now, in fields such as health care, HVAC, information technology and many other programs.
“I think what has made the Mayo school unique is its service to not only the community, but the workforce needs of eastern Kentucky and beyond,” said Bobby McCool, vice president of institutional services at BSCTC. He also served as director for the Mayo school from 1999 to 2003. “Our commitment remains the same today.”
Gary Lewis, who taught electronics on the Mayo campus for 33 years before retiring in 1999, said the school’s reach has been far beyond the hills of eastern Kentucky — it’s been worldwide.
“We were the first school of its kind, and we had many students early on from other countries, because this was really the only place that offered the training at an affordable price,” he said. “I think the school is very much unique today.”
During the reception after the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Russell “Bill” Rucker, 92, of Van Lear, sat and reminisced about something unusual.
“Did you know the park used to be a softball field? There were quite a few good players that called this park home.”
Rucker, who began teaching heating and air conditioning at Mayo in 1947 (the same year he married his wife, Garnetta), remembers playing softball at the park in the 1940s. He recalls former school director George Ramey throwing a softball “faster than some people could throw a baseball.”
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for park a fine occasion to recall influence of 'unique' Johnson County school
Bronelle Skaggs’ journey to the Mayo school was unconventional.
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Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit
A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.
Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom
The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
“She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.
Concrete pouring at Putnam
Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.
Unique races for Carter magistrates
Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.
Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit
Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.
Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday
Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.
Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program
The Grayson Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.
News in brief, 04/24/14
The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.
Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities
The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.
Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday
A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.
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