Wednesday July 24, 2024
News Sections

Photo: JCPS

Ballard High School’s The Collage was named the best student-produced literary magazine in Kentucky, earning a ‘Superior’ rating and a nomination for the Highest Award by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  The recognition is the second time in three years that the publication has taken the top ranking by NCTE’s Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines (PRESLM), and makes The Collage the highest awarded literary magazine in Jefferson County Public Schools.

Nationally, only 26 student publications, out of 372 entries, were named Highest Award recipients.

PRESLM recognizes students, teachers and schools for producing excellent literary magazines. The program aims to encourage all schools to develop literary magazines and seek excellence in writing and schoolwide participation in production.

Ballard’s in-house literary magazine has been produced and published by students, for students, since 1970, and showcases student written and artistic work in all genres, themes and grades.  The magazine is a project-based learning collaboration between the creative writing classes of Michelle Livesay and the digital publishing classes of Gary Crume with student fine art submissions from Ballard art teachers Patty Bradford, Lindsey Dobson, Emily Forrester, Marcia Hageman and Sarah Kaiman.

A limited number of copies of the award-winning 2017 edition are available by contacting or

More than 40 students from the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District are among the 16,000 across the country named 2018 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program were announced today by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. and will compete for scholarships worth about $32 million. Semifinalists from JCPS include students from Ballard, Brown, DuPont Manual, Eastern and Male Traditional High. The students are:

  • Ballard High School’s Claire Keum, Sarang Park and Alexander Reaugh
  • Brown High School’s Sovann Chang
  • DuPont Manual High School’s Alec Adamov, Anirudh Adavi, Tanner Bielefeld Pruitt, Priyadarshini Chandrashekhar, Emily Clark, Alice Deters, Caroline Foshee, Ryan Hassel, Micah Herndon, Brandon Huff, Charles Im, Benjamin Jiang, Jobi Jose, Govind Krishna, Sophie Lai, Lindsey Lapinski, William Morgan, Joshua Olliges, Alan Pascua, Riti Pathak, David Qiu, Saralee Renick, Haylee Richter, Camille Rougier, Amit Sahoo, Gregory Schwartz, Luke Sheridan-Rabideau, Elijah Shina, Harshini Sirvisetty, Madison Sneve, Lucy Suo, Spencer Thompson, Megan Wang, Shelby Young and Annie Zhang.
  • Eastern High School’s Truman Smith
  • Male Traditional High School’s Dylan Boone

“JCPS continues to produce some of the best and brightest students in the state and country, and the achievements of these talented students today are an example of that,” said JCPS Acting Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “I am very proud of what they are accomplishing both in and out of the classroom.”

The students were among approximately 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who entered the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. Finalists will be announced early next year.

Photo: JCPS

Ballard High School junior Nicholas Wright will spend most of his summer break learning about and creating awareness for global issues. Wright, the son of Marcus and Portia Wright, has been awarded an internship at the United Nations (UN) in its Temple of Understanding Program.

As part of the program, high school and college students from across the United States, as well as the world, will spend five weeks learning about the UN and what it’s like to be an intern for a non-governmental organization (NGO). Wright was one of only 20 applicants selected to participate in the highly competitive program.

“Nicholas desires to be a global citizen,” his mother, Portia, said. “He began his love of learning about other countries and cultures while attending Meyzeek Middle School. He joined the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) and got completely wrapped up in the economic, educational and social problem solving for disparaging countries. This is a perfect example of the possible impact the activities and experiences of school clubs and effective classroom instruction can have on a student. Nicholas has gone from the model UN to the actual UN!”

During his internship, Wright will complete a research project addressing the topic of the human right to water. For more information about the program, click here.

Michelle McKelvy, an English teacher at Ballard High School, has been awarded the Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership (ExCEL) Award. Representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and from the award sponsors — LG&E and KU and WHAS11 — honored the teacher earlier this week during a ceremony at the school.

“Mrs. McKelvy stands out because of the heart and compassion she shows every student,” said Ballard Principal Staci Eddleman. “Every conversation she has with a student is validating and uplifting.  If a student is having a hard time, she is the gentle ear they seek.  If a student is proud of an accomplishment, she is the one with whom they share.  In her words and actions she makes each child feel special.”

Praised by fellow educators for her ability to make an impact on Advanced Placement and Achievement Gap students alike, McKelvy was recognized by the District with a Golden Oar Award in fall 2016.  She has presented and facilitated a number of discussions and professional development seminars, including “Building a Classroom Community” in 2015, “Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers” in 2016; and “Reeling in the Reluctant Reader” in 2016.

McKelvy works continuously to improve instruction through professional development opportunities, said Kerri Dixon, assistant principal. “Although she juggles an extremely demanding workload of a myriad of grade levels courses, she volunteers to lead the 11th-grade English Professional Learning Community so that this group can benefit from her expertise and collaborative knowledge.”

“Every school has one of those teachers who everyone knows do a great jobs,” said Library Media Specialist Laura Younkin. “Mrs. McKelvy is one of those teachers at Ballard.  She will not teach her students just the basics of English and have them read novels.  She will love them and they come out of her class better students and better people.”

As an ExCEL Award winner, McKelvy will receive a $1,000 instructional grant.

Ballard High School has inducted its inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class, recognizing alumni who achieved outstanding accomplishments in their athletic careers or service to the athletic department at Ballard.

The Ballard Bruins Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes graduates and school supporters who are at least 10 years out of high school.  In addition to acknowledging athletic success, the award also recognizes recipients’ post-Ballard graduation accomplishments and service.

Inductees include (by graduation year unless otherwise indicated):

  • Marty Bailen, was involved in Ballard athletics for more than 40 years in all capacities, including announcer and statistician. The football press box is named after him.
  • Pat Crawford, served as Ballard’s first principal, from 1968 to 1985. The football stadium is named after him.
  • Allan Houston, 1989, played on Ballard’s 1988 Kentucky state championship team, and went on to play at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1993 as the school’s all-time leading scorer.  He also played for the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.
  • Jeremi Johnson, 1999, rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 35 touchdowns his junior and senior seasons. He played football at Indiana University and Western Kentucky University, and was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 National Football League draft.
  • Jeff Lamp, 1977, was on Ballard’s 1977 state championship basketball team, voted Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1977, and starred at the University of Virginia. He was selected by the Portland Trailblazers with the number 15 pick in the 1981 draft. He also played for the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Gary Plock, 1974, was a four-time Kentucky state champion and two-time All American in tennis. He was also an NCAA doubles finalist at the University of Texas, and was elected to the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • Jim Reuther, served as Ballard’s first athletic director. The basketball gymnasium is named after him.
  • Sally Sligar, 1975, earned multiple state championships in track and cross country in what were then state record times, and went on to run cross country and track at the University of Tennessee.
  • Jeremy Sowers, 2001, threw four no-hitters in high school and led the team to consecutive appearances in the state championship game. Was named the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, starred at Vanderbilt Univeristy, and was selected the sixth overall pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.
  • Susan Stoddard, 1982, ran track, played volleyball and softball, and excelled in basketball, which she played at the University of Florida.
  • Kent Taylor, 1973, held school and regional records in the 2-mile, participated in the 1973 Mason Dixon Games, and went on to run track and cross country at University of North Carolina.

Inductees will be recognized at the Ballard Athletic Hall of Fame banquet which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Marriott East Hotel, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd. For ticket information, visit Eventbrite.