Johnson Central High School’s academic team is coming home this week with its first overall victory from the state Governor’s Cup finals at the Galt House in Louisville.
JCHS finished only two points ahead in the final standings over Russell High School and 2.25 points ahead of third place Henderson County High School.
JCHS Principal Noel Crum said the way the points shook out, it was unclear if JCHS would earn its first state title or finish as low as third, until the last category of points-paying awards was read.
Both JCHS and Russell tied for fifth place points in fast-paced quick recall, with Henderson taking first in that tournament. Russell earned the win in future problem solving, with JCHS placed third.
But JCHS students turned out strong showings in individual assessments. Johnson Central’s J. T. Dials earned an individual first place in the science assessment, Jolene Fairchild finished sixth in language arts, and Chrystalen Stambaugh earned a first place in arts and humanities with Megan Owens third and Caree Meek eighth.
With 248 schools in competition, Johnson County’s Paintsville High School and the Piarist School among them, points were hard to come by, and the 51.25 point total was enough to earn JCHS the state title.
“I think it puts the icing on the cake for all the tremendous things that our students are doing here. It is unbelievable that a rural high school is competing at such a high level in everything that we do,” Crum said. “But to do it in an academic competition against magnet schools, private schools, schools from affluent communities, to be able to do this against the best of the best, and to say you’re the best, it’s phenomenal.”
Academics coach Brenda Porter said she was proud of her team’s performance—and credited it all to the work they put in ahead of time.
“They are phenomenal. They have the best work ethic. They are a team. They are just great young men and women,” Porter said.