Gatton Academy celebrates expansion, honors C.M. Gatton

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 9:58 PM CDT
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The Gatton Academy in Bowling Green celebrated an expansion made possible by donations from Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton.

The school is recognized as one of the best public high schools in the country.

"Bill" Gatton says he is proud to provide students a chance to succeed and that the recognition is not the reason he does it.

"That's not the purpose to have my name on it, but the purpose is to benefit these [students] that have a lot of influence by the school," he says. "The people who run this school are the people that deserve all the credit."

The Gatton Academy receives state money to help send students through school. Something Gatton says is rewarding not only for the students but also the commonwealth of Kentucky.

"Kids come here, they don't have to pay tuition. They don't have to pay for room, board, any expenditures that are normal in schools," says Gatton. "They benefit the state of Kentucky as well as their own families."

The Idea he is referring to is that if the state of Kentucky sends them through school, the students will in turn stay in Kentucky when they graduate. Previously, the school taught 160 students. The latest expansion, made possible by Gatton's donations, will allow the academy to take in even more students.

"Now because of Mr. Gatton's generosity, we are able to expand it to 200," says WKU President Gary Ransdell. "100 juniors and 100 seniors. So we'll accept 100 of the very best from Kentucky each year as they complete their sophomore year in high school."

The two new wings are named after Gatton's father and mother, Harry and Edith Gatton.

No one student's experience is identical to another's, but one student believes she's found what makes every student's time at Gatton Academy special.

"I would argue that there is a single common denominator among our experiences, and that is growth," says senior Lea Rhiannon Connor. "We grow every single day that we're here. Many of us Grow by feeling accepted by the people around us, many for the first time. Today, I have the opportunity to show my immense gratitude to Mr. Gatton."