For the second year in a row, all members of the Paintsville High School graduating class have been accepted to at least one college in the fall, said guidance counselor Ann Samons.
There are 47 students in the class of 2015.
One of them, Reece Trimble, 18, has been accepted to Eastern Kentucky University where she plans to study communication disorders and then get her master’s degree in speech pathology.
“Our teachers just really care about getting us ready for college and see us succeed to the best of our ability,” said Trimble.
Azure Bartley, 17, said she plans to attend the University of Kentucky and study nursing. Bartley said she transferred to Paintsville High her junior year.
Other schools don’t compare with Paintsville High, she said. The staff, she said, “care more about you than just what work you are able to do.”
Bartley said her peers in the senior class are competitive, “which pushes you to do even better.”
Kelsey Bolen, 18, plans to study biomedical sciences in Morehead State University’s honors program.
“We’re a very small-knit school and that allows us all to get really close to each other and get to know our teachers on a more personal level,” said Bolen. “It allows them to push us harder.”
Paintsville is the only high school in the small Paintsville Independent Schools district in eastern Kentucky.
Samons said that by Oct. 1, 2014, all of the seniors had applied to at least one college. “We do those applications early and then spend the rest of the year trying to get scholarships.”
In terms of the 2013-14 class, she thought only one of the 52 graduating seniors who had been accepted to college did not go to college. He went into military service, she said, and will be taking college classes there.
Samons attributed the district’s focus on college to “school culture and climate.”
The district holds a college sweatshirt day and encourages students in kindergarten through 12th grade and teachers and staff to wear college sweatshirts, which encourages conversation about postsecondary decisions.
“Our teachers make connections with students,” said Paintsville Independent Superintendent Coy Samons, who is married to Ann Samons.
The superintendent noted that about 50 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. “Our approach here … is not are you going to college, but where are you going to college.”