One of my classmates that first year in Wilmore was Denise Bailey Adams. I’m sure at that point in her life she never imagined returning one day to the Wilmore campus as an administrator. Intelligent, friendly and hard-working, the seeds of her present success were evident even in those days.
I’m so glad Adams is finally receiving some of the recognition she has earned and greatly deserves. Self-effacing and humble, she will always deflect praise to her team of teachers, which is an admirable trait. But much of the credit for the outstanding program at Providence is hers, and we should never fail to appreciate the hard work and dedication she has invested in an environment that is demanding, to say the least.
Its time for the community to shed the notion that The Providence School is a program for “bad kids.” Yes, some students are referred to the school because they have had behavior issues, but that does not make them “bad.” There are a host of reasons students experience challenges in other schools — every child is unique, and every one will respond in different ways to the same learning environment.
Students at Providence represent the same spectrum of personalities, behaviors and needs as those at other schools. Their presence at Providence merely means that parents, educators, and administrators feel their educational needs will be better served in a non-traditional environment. We should be proud that our county offers a high-quality program for them and refuse to place an undeserved stigma on the students.
The Providence School is touted as one of the best alternative schools in the state by the Kentucky Department of Education. At least one former student agrees. While researching the school online, I encountered this unsolicited testimonial about Providence from a school-rating website, greatschools.org:
“I loved every moment I spent there ... They have the greatest teachers and the world’s greatest principal. No one really knows how hard they work. There are people that truly care what happens to you not only at school but in life. Thank you for everything that you all ever done for me because not only did it help in my life, it will also help in my kids’ lives. Thank you!”
The building with the black slide is long gone, only a memory now. But a new school has blossomed on the Wilmore campus. Let’s keep volunteering, supporting fundraisers, attending events, and strategizing together how our community can keep a good thing going strong.