Gov. Beshear, Ransdell celebrate Gatton ranking

Taylor Harrison

The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science celebrated their Newsweek magazine ranking as the top high school in America on Monday afternoon and Gov. Steve Beshear was one of the speakers at the reception.

President Gary Ransdell spoke at the event before introducing the governor.

“How cool is it to be able to be talking about America’s number one High school as we sit here right in the middle of WKU’s campus?” Ransdell said.

Ransdell also said there was a pretty wide gap between Gatton and the school in the number two spot on Newsweek’s list. He said Newsweek’s assessment of Gatton was a testament to the students.

“I want to acknowledge again the students that we’re so very proud of and this achievement is because of the students,” Ransdell said.

Ransdell then introduced Beshear, saying that since day one, he has been an “education governor.”

Beshear started his speech by asking all of the Gatton students to raise their hands.

“Here’s who we’re celebrating,” Beshear said.

Beshear said Gatton’s students are the future of Kentucky and this country. He said he was blown away by the research the students showed him.

Beshear also said that too often young people aren’t challenged enough.

“We’re intent on removing obstacles that are in their path, we want to make sure that they have a smooth go in life and so we sometimes, honestly, make things too easy,” he said. “The work here shows what happens when you make things more difficult.”

While he said that what Gatton is doing is wonderful, the academy cannot remain stagnant.

“We want it to grow and we want it to prosper and we want more gifted and talented students in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to get the benefit of what this program has to offer,” he said.

Charles Zimmerman, a writer in Louisville and a member of the Center for Gifted Studies advisory council, talked a lot about the importance of talented people from Kentucky staying in Kentucky to pursue their careers.

Zimmerman also praised the elected officials in attendance for making progress in education in recent years and for their support of Gatton.

“It is the number one public school out of 20,000 public high schools from California to New York, from Oregon to Florida,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said the partnership Gatton has between private citizens, the public university and the government is important to maintain.

David Brown, a Central City Gatton senior, also spoke at the reception.

Brown said what Gatton offers is a community that can’t be found anywhere else.

“We learn from each other, we push each other and most importantly, we pick each other up when we fall,” Brown said. “We are number one because no one here is concerned with being number one.”

After the reception, Beshear said he wasn’t surprised Gatton was the best high school in the nation, but he was surprised they received the recognition.

“Because so many times, I think Kentucky’s overlooked in a lot of things that it does very well and Newsweek didn’t overlook us this time,” Beshear said.