Notable EHS alumni remember different eras

Elizabethtown High School alumni or their family members pose for a photo Saturday at The State Theater during the annual Tra­di­tion of Ex­cel­lence Alum­ni Award cere­mony. Bradley Bale, John Willmoth, Brenda Skillman, David Kerrick, Harrison Evans Jr., Ann Duggins Schell, Linda Ramsey and Kirk Jenkins were honored at the ceremony.

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.

Trey Crumbie can be reached at 270-505-1747 or

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