Students might not notice it but every day as they walk down the center hallway, they pass some of the best graduates Owensboro High School can claim. The Hall of Achievement recognizes some of the most important people that have come out of this school. It includes multimillionaire business people, mayors, politicians, actors, veterans, educators, scientists, and other influencers. It also includes Owensboro’s first female lawyer, a US diplomat who spent decades helping maintain America’s relationship with China, a World War II Navy commander, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, a Kentucky Supreme Court justice, our current mayor Tom Watson, and early NBA player Cliff Hagan.
Through a grant from the Hager Foundation in 2001, the Hall of Achievement was created to recognize distinguished alumni. In April of 2021, the Hall of Achievement will be inducting its eighth class. One of the people on the selection committee is social studies teacher Lori Thurman. She recently told the Messenger Inquirer that the committee has tried to induct people from “a variety of fields, from government, military, business, and education.” It currently has 61 people, with each class ranging from 10-13 inductees.
Thurman says, “anybody can nominate someone,” who meets the criteria of being “an OHS attendee at least 20 years ago, and demonstrated excellence in their profession and in their community.”
Students can get involved in this process too. As well as nominating people, student leaders will have the chance to attend the luncheon to recognize the class of inductees. Juniors and seniors will attend the actual ceremony. Also, some of the inductees will have the chance to talk with classes about their fields of study and their success. Thurman recalls one year a botanist was inducted and she spoke to many of the biology classes. Also, a Pepsi Co. Vice President spoke with many of the business classes.
Thurman has said she has trouble deciding who was the most distinguished on the wall because “they are all so distinguished.” She said pastor/scientist George Moore stands out because he was the first African-American valedictorian of OHS.
Thurman said she has been involved since the beginning of the Hall of Achievement and has enjoyed all of it because she “enjoys celebrating what makes this place great.” Thurman she would nominate Kevin Olusala, but he isn’t old enough to be on the ballot yet. She would choose him because he has brought “much notoriety to our community.”
Any student who has any interest in nominating a person or being involved in the process, please talk to Mrs. Thurman about the process.