Our Affiliated Project: Letcher Elementary School in Blackey, Kentucky

facts about Letcher Elementary School:

  • Grades served: Kindergarten – fifth
  • Average enrollment: 270 students
  • Facility description: Letcher Elementary and Letcher Middle schools share the same grounds, separated only by a set of double doors. Letcher Elementary is a dated, one-story brick structure.  It has a gym, cafeteria, and playground.
  • Faculty: Faculty includes 20 teachers and a school nurse. The student-teacher ratio is 13:1.
  • School curriculum: The curriculum is based on the KY Program of Studies and the KY Core Content. To view the school’s state report card, visit www.k12.ky.us
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch are served daily.
  • Academic schedule: The school year typically begins the first week of August and ends in mid-May. Normal holidays are observed.
  • Percentage of students on the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Meal Program: 82%
  • Resources: The school offers students’ families the services of a Family Resource Center.

Located in rural and mountainous Letcher County, the community of Blackey, Kentucky has deep roots in the coal mining industry. In 1912, just four years after the town’s founding, the Lexington and Eastern Railroad ran a line through Blackey, quickly transforming the mountain hamlet into a booming, modern town. Tragically, Blackey’s prosperity proved short-lived, as the late 1920’s ushered in a series of disasters: a flash flood of the North Fork Kentucky River devastated the city, killing 26 residents; just months later, a fire destroyed much of the city’s business district; and finally, the Great Depression struck. Today, the town is home to a small but resilient population, that works to revitalize the community despite hardship. Daily survival here is a struggle, and children feel it perhaps most keenly. The depressed economy and the lack of employment make it difficult for families to provide even basic needs and school supplies, a problem compounded by the fact that many youths in the area are foster children or are being raised by grandparents.

For this reason, Letcher Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope for this community. Its caring and dedicated staff partners with sponsors to provide students with basic essentials that we so often take for granted but that are vital to students’ success in both school and life. Moreover, staff and sponsorships imbue something even more priceless: hope for the future, made possible by a well-rounded education – the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and helping children rise above the difficult circumstances they face.