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BMHS students visit Lexington, Louisville on educational trip
Cutline: Shown from left are Ballard students Kaleigh Ray, Haley Doke, Mercedis Jenkins, Kayla Osborne, Aliza Smith, Lexie Allen, Jaela Holt, Ridge Wildharber, Anna Thompson, Kaleigh Ray, Colton Wheeler, Faye O’Brien, Michelle Adkins, and Katie Gonzales at the on-site farm at The Kentucky Castle in Lexington. See more photos on the Ballard County Schools Facebook page.
A group of Ballard Memorial High School juniors and seniors went to Lexington and Louisville recently for educational and career visits, accompanied by Teen Focus Director Tina Armer and special education teacher Bethany Spencer. The group began at The Kentucky Castle, where they toured the building and grounds, and learned about the history and architecture of the building.

After lunch, Chef Ashlee Upton spoke with the group, and personally took them on a behind-the-scenes tour of both kitchens (one for large events and one for daily dining). The tour included a chicken coop and the kitchen gardens – one for herbs and another for vegetables, which are run by local high school students – and the chicken coop. While the facility is not completely self-sufficient, Upton talked about how she and the other chefs work with local farmers to obtain all of their produce. 

The next stop was The Bluegrass Stockyard. Guide Jamie Crites explained that the Stockyard is not only an auction house for cattle, but also an education center focusing on the science and best practices of the beef industry. “This tour fostered complex thinking, experiential learning, and life skills application,” Armer said. Crites also took them down on the ground level, where all of the cattle are kept until sale, a spot students normally don’t get to see. Ana Hawkins with the Cattleman’s Association talked with students about different careers and internships for college students. “That gave them something to think about,” Armer said. “Our thanks to ag teacher Ryan Buchanan, who suggested the stockyards. The kids loved it!”

The next day, the group visited Sullivan University for a culinary demonstration. “Sullivan is ranked as one of the top 10 culinary schools in the country,” Armer continued. “They told us that if we came on a Friday, it would be a demonstrative tour – we didn’t realize it would be our students who did the demonstrating!” Culinary Program Director Chef Foster worked side-by-side with BMHS students to make three types of macaroni and cheese, and also talked with them about what Sullivan’s classes were like, jobs in the area, what it was like to be a student there, and how being a chef wasn’t just about cooking. 

Before the group left campus, Director of Career Services Julie Saifallah and her team came in and talked with them about classes, funding, and job services, as well as telling some of the success stories of former Sullivan students. “What I thought was truly amazing about the visit was how some of the students actually talked one-on-one with some of the team,” Armer said. 

The group also visited Ashland, a national historic landmark and the estate of Kentuckian Henry Clay. They toured the grounds, including the gas works, wash house, privy, smokehouse, carriage wing, ice houses, dairy cellar, and the hemp and formal gardens. At one time, Ashland housed the Kentucky University’s Agricultural and Mechanical College. 

The last stop was at The Loudoun House, one of only five remaining castellated Gothic Revival villas left in the United States and designed by New York architect A.J. Davis. It was built in 1850 for Francis Key Hunt, cousin of Francis Scott Key. The Loudoun House is now owned by the city of Lexington and has been the Lexington Art League’s administrative and curatorial home since 1984. The site features multiple art exhibitions and events throughout the year, as well as housing six artist studios. 

The Lexington Art League offers professional internship opportunities on an ongoing basis that can be tailored to an individual’s interest, availability, and educational requirements. The showcase at the time was the PRHBTN (Prohibition) Exhibition. Artist Helene Steene also was in her studio and took time to talk with several students. Her work has been published and exhibited in both private and public collections in the United States, France, Greece, Spain, Great Britain, and Sweden. 

“I hope they retained a lot of educational information and took home some nice memories,” Armer said. “I always think of how blessed most of us are who get to travel when we want. Some of our students would never have the privilege of visiting other cities, universities, or cultural sites if not for school trips. We appreciate everyone who made this trip possible.”

Ballard students who went on the trip were Lexie Allen, Michelle Adkins, Haley Doke, Chantel Goldsberry, Katie Gonzales, Kylie Guynn, Jaela Holt, Mercedis Jenkins, Faye O’Brien, Kayla Osborne, Kaleigh Ray, Aliza Smith, Anna Thompson, Winter Walker, Ridge Wildharber, and Colton Wheeler.

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