"Stars Over Appalachia" Project Seeks to Reduce High School Dropout Rate in Region

Paula Wilder photo

Eastern Kentucky University is working with the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame to enlist entertainment celebrities in an effort to reduce the high school dropout rate in the university’s service region.

The program calls for the celebrities from all entertainment genres – many with ties to the region – to adopt schools and then work with administrators and teachers to inspire students to stay in school.

“Seeing children living in very rural communities have the opportunity to connect with a celebrity is so uplifting,” said Paula Wilder, one of seven EKU educational extension agents serving the university’s service region, who approached the Hall of Fame with the idea. “It got a very warm reception, and Hall of Fame Executive Director Robert Lawson and I are currently actively working to get this program off the ground.”

Most of the celebrities being sought for the program grew up in the region or live in the region today. “We want the celebrities to be able to relate to the students they mentor,” Wilder said. “Hopefully, a project of this nature will intrinsically motivate students to stay in school and give them the courage and inspiration they need to pursue higher educational attainment.”

A formal ceremony announcing the program, the celebrities and participating schools is planned for later this spring.

The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame is located at Renfro Valley.

Published on February 17, 2012