Special to the Daily News
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — When the Pikeville Collegiate Institute established a training school for teachers in 1901, the institution’s founders had no way of knowing the fruits of their labor. Since that time, hundreds of University of Pikeville graduates have made the classroom their life’s work.
The Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor those whose contributions to education and to learning have inspired generations of students. A family and nine individuals, some of whom were awarded posthumously, were inducted during a recent ceremony.
This year’s inductees include Audrey Davis Barkman, Jim Andy Caudill, Perry A. Cline, the Dawahare Family, Olive Dotson, Janice Beeler Ford, Wanda Robinson-Houser, Gertrude Ison, Virgil Osborne and Jerry Waddell.
A community activist who loved to teach reading education, Audrey Davis Barkman was a woman ahead of her time. Barkman taught at the collegiate level at Pikeville College and Alabama State University and elementary level at Brushy Elementary and Payson Elementary in Arizona. Barkman believed that reading is fundamental to the educational process. Her greatest goal was to educate prospective teachers how to teach reading. A 1941 graduate of Pikeville Junior College, Barkman received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky and master’s and doctoral degrees from Arizona State University.
One of Pikeville College’s most beloved professors, Jim Andy Caudill shared his passion for music with hundreds of students. An accomplished musician, Caudill received his bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University, a master’s degree from Marshall University and attended Eastman Summer Institute. He spent some time working as arranger for a number of television shows and dance orchestras. As a teenager, Caudill traveled the country to compete in the Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program when the show was one of radio’s most popular and was a three-time winner. Caudill served as clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor in several states and always received more invitations than he felt time would permit him to accept.
Perry A. Cline was born Jan. 3, 1849, in Logan County, W.Va. His mother died when he was two-years-old and his father five years later. In his childhood, he was left in the care of three African-Americans who had worked for the family. There being no schools where he lived, he started on foot for Russell County, Va., a distance of more than 100 miles, suffering many privations and hardships on the way. He remained in school eight and a half months before returning to Pike County. From 1874 to 1878 he was sheriff of Pike County. He was admitted to the bar in 1884. In 1885 he was nominated for state representative from his district and elected as Democrat over two opponents, one a Republican, the other an Independent. He was a member of the Legislative Committees on Circuit Courts and Education. As a representative in Frankfort, Cline pushed through the bill to educate African-Americans. The Perry A. Cline School in Pikeville was named for him.
Throughout the years, the Dawahare family’s contributions in business, education, the arts and community service have been significant. The story of the Dawahare family is special and begins with Serur Frank Dawahare, who at a young age fled Damascus, Syria, to escape religious persecution. He came to America speaking no English and having very little money. Dawahare decided he would try to pack peddle merchandise. After a few months, he had acquired enough capital to open his first little store and began to sell merchandise to other pack peddlers. Dawahare had a vision and a dream. Upon solid principals he and his wife built a business and placed it into the hands of well-trained children. At its peak, the Dawahares chain operated 29 stores. They left a legacy of hard work, dedication, honesty, and love.
Socrates characterized education as the “kindling of a flame.” For more than three decades, Olive Dotson’s passion for teaching helped hundreds of children shine in the classroom. Dotson taught in the Pike County School System at Phelps, Feds Creek and Shelbiana grade schools, as well as in a one-room schoolhouse on Hurricane Creek. In addition to her teaching career, Dotson and her husband were also business partners in the Pikeville community. The couple owned and operated Herman’s Sales and Service, a local motorcycle shop, as well as D&D Market (1969-1999), which Dotson continued to operate after her husband’s death in 1986. An alumna of Pikeville College, Dotson’s alma mater has flourished under the leadership of her son, Terry Dotson, who has served as board chairman for 17 years.
In the classroom, Janice Beeler Ford introduced her students to the artists who color our world. For Ford, a longtime professor of art at Pikeville College, that was an important part of the learning process. A talented artist, Ford enjoyed and made the most of the creative ability God gave her. She began painting during her teenage years and progressed as an artist, expanding her knowledge of every medium including oils, colored pencil and watercolors. Ford most enjoyed painting watercolors and loved painting still-life images. A Pikeville College alumna, she began her career as an art teacher at Johns Creek Elementary and at Pikeville High School. She joined the faculty of Pikeville College in 1969.
Wanda Robinson-Houser taught primary education in one-room schools in Hurricane Creek and neighboring townships in Pike County during the early 1940s. She continued as an educator throughout her life in one form or another. Houser had the opportunity to attend Pikeville College with the assistance of the National Youth Administration, which was part of FDR’s New Deal. She worked for 25 cents per hour to pay for her tuition. Houser graduated from Pikeville Junior College in 1939. Houser once wrote, “Pikeville College sat high on a hill, looking very majestic and welcoming anyone who climbed the 99 steps to get there. It welcomed me, a slightly disadvantaged 17-year-old. Thanks to that scholarship, I became an elementary school teacher.”
Gertrude Ison loved teaching. A native of the Commonwealth, she spent 56 years in the classroom in both public schools and colleges throughout Kentucky and Florida. Ison taught mathematics at Pikeville College from 1959-1982. Recalling her dedication to students, former colleague Carol Baker tells the story of how Ison, after breaking her leg, found it difficult to navigate the campus terrain and held class in her apartment in Spilman Hall. Ison served as president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, treasurer of the American Association of University Professors and a member and corporate representative of Delta Kappa Gamma.
Virgil Osborne has dedicated his life to education and to serving his community. A former teacher and coach, Osborne also spent time working for the Big Sandy Community Action Program and served as U.S. Department of Labor program director for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program in 23 Kentucky counties. He has served in leadership roles as chairman of the Big Sandy Area Retired Teachers Association, the Pike County Retired Teachers Association, and the scholarship committee for the Shelbiana Railroad Reunion. Active in the community, Osborne served on the WYMT Mountain Classic Board of Directors for 25 years, was chairman of the Pike County Bowl and Shelby Valley Hall of Fame Committee, and the president of the Virgie Little and Babe Ruth Leagues. Osborne currently serves on the Pike County Board of Education.
A lifelong learner and educator known for his love of music, Jerry Waddell brought a creative passion to everything he did. Waddell taught first grade at Pikeville Elementary School and was a professor in the education division at Pikeville College for 12 years before returning to the elementary school as principal. He served as choir director, organist and minister of music at the Pikeville United Methodist Church. Waddell gave voice and piano lessons and taught elementary and high school choruses. Waddell cherished his time on “The Hill” and loved being able to work with students interested in teaching. He remained a champion for education until his death in 2011.