Historic Kentucky school turns 100

11:37 PM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR-Pine Mountain, Kentucky) 100 years strong: a message sent to the people of Harlan County, Kentucky Saturday.

The Pine Mountain Settlement School is settled away from any big town, but still teaches children about dreams that aren't hard to grasp.

"It instills so many valuable lessons of life and people who've shared the programs or shared the place or shared the people that are here," said alumnus Helen Wykle. She was one of the dozens who attended the school's 100th anniversary Saturday.

The school opened in 1913 as a boarding school for elementary and middle school-aged children in the county. At the time, there was no formal education system in the southeast Kentucky county said Dr. Penne Lane, who helps lead the school today.

"There was no real system of education. There was no public schools so we started out as a progressive education center -- but as a settlement," Dr. Lane added.

The school's main goal was to teach kids that there was more than king coal to create a livelihood. In the 1970's, it changed from a boarding school to an center for environmental education -- teaching farming, biology, and other cultural trades.

"The cultural heritage of this region is so rich and we do want to hang on that and keep that for the next century at least," Dr. Lane added.

While that curriculum changed, what hasn't is the goal to enrich lives in this small community. Goals that have alumni hopeful for another successful century at Pine Mountain Settlement School.

"I'm not surprised that Pine Mountain is here after 100 years," said Wykle. "And I expect it to be here for another 100 years."

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