Linda Ramsey remembers a physical education teacher who gave her a piece of advice in the 1960s that sticks with her even today.
During a race, Ramsey discovered she was going to come in second instead of first, so she quit running and walked off the track. The teacher gave her a lecture that amounted to the advice, “Don’t you ever quit.”
“I can’t thank her enough,” Ramsey said. “It was so much more than race. It was about character.”
Ramsey was one of eight of distinguished Elizabethtown High School alumni honored Saturday during the 2019 Tradition of Excellence Alumni Award ceremony. Ramsey, an EHS 1970 graduate, is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology in Evansville, Indiana.
Ramsey was joined by Ann Schell, a 1960 graduate who is a practicing attorney.
Schell recalled an era when there were no sports teams for girls. Schell was a cheerleader and active in other school organizations including the Beta Club during her time at EHS, but it wasn’t until the passage of Title IX in 1972, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education activities receiving federal financial assistance when girls’ sports teams took off.
“It was a pleasure a few years later when I enjoyed to watch my great-nieces play high school basketball and softball,” she said.
The Rev. Brenda Skillman, a 1968 graduate, started her Elizabethtown education in the Bond-Washington School, an all-black school.
Skillman, a retired medical technologist for Hardin Memorial Hospital, said when racial integration in public schools became mandated in the late 1950s, the Elizabethtown Independent School district served as a model for others.
“When violence raged in many school systems of the South, in the fall of 1959, the students at Bond-Washington High School peacefully transferred to Elizabethtown High School,” she said. “In the fall of 1960, we at Bond-Washington Elementary School, we were welcomed into the other elementary schools in the system without incident.”
Other alumni honored were Bradley Bale, a 1966 graduate who is a clinical associate professor at WSU College of Medicine; John Willmoth, a 1982 graduate who works in the venture capital field; David Kerrick, a 1972 graduate who was commissioned a U.S. Marine Corps second lieutenant upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976 and was designated a naval aviator in 1978; Harrison Evans Jr., a 1955 graduate who was class valedictorian and recipient of the Andrew Clay Johnson Jr. Most Outstanding Student Athlete-Academic Honors Award for Excellence; and Kirk Jenkins, a 1979 graduate who attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School and now works at the San Francisco office of Horvitz & Levy, a leading California appellate law firm.