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Craft students continue project at Hazel Green Academy

senior leadership teamStudents from the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics are continuing their work to revitalize a community learning center in Eastern Kentucky.  

The project at the Hazel Green Academy (HGA) is two-fold: students worked to find funding for the project and performed hands-on work at the HGA. Craft Academy students have worked to help the property owners secure grant funding to revitalize the site as a community educational outreach center. Members of the project’s senior leadership team located a $4,000 grant from the Wolfe County Tourism Center and wrote the grant proposal. The funds will be used for a 9-week programming series at the site called Music on the Green, scheduled to begin later this year. Planned activities include live music, open mic nights, food trucks, and outdoor field activities. Last year, Craft Academy students helped the owners secure a $5,000 grant from the Mountain Rural Telephone Cooperative for the project. Students also helped the property owners by researching how they could acquire LLC status, which would open the door for potential state funding for the restoration efforts.  

Dr. Rachel Rogers, visiting assistant professor of research/QEP at the Craft Academy, said most of the campus is on the National Register of Historic Places.  

In addition, students have participated in service-learning at the HGA, helping clean up the property, painting, doing yard work and helping in a used clothing store housed in one of the buildings. 

Craft Academy students began the project in 2021 with three strategic goals: 

  • The development of an educational outreach utilizing the administration building. 
  • The creation of a community engagement venue for the auditorium called "Music on the Green." 
  • The addition of those HGA campus buildings not already registered to the National Register of Historic Places.  

Founded in 1880, the HGA was a residential academy where students learned about STEM, art, history and religion. At its peak, the academy was accredited by the Kentucky Board of Education and focused on science and mathematics, like the Craft Academy. The HGA closed in 1983, and the remaining buildings have fallen into disrepair. The Craft Academy project aims to restore the buildings to create a community educational outreach center.  

Craft Academy student Josie Traver from Somerset is a member of the project's junior leadership team. She said she looks forward to seeing how the project helps the community.  

"This opportunity delineates the impact of community service and has allowed me to exercise my passion for volunteerism. Collaborating with my fellow team members to bring our vision to life has been an absolute pleasure. With enough support, I'm eager to see the community of Hazel Green flourish into something incredible."  

Jennifer Nguyen from Grayson, another member of the junior leadership team, said the project holds a special meaning for her.  

"As an Eastern Kentucky native, I have grown up in an area similar to Hazel Green. Having the opportunity to plan service-learning trips, construct grant proposals, and much more as a part of the team has been a wonderful experience that I am excited to continue."  

Members of the project's senior leadership team include:   

  • Camryn Banbel, West Liberty   
  • Derek Gill, Jeffersonville   
  • Ally Hall, Falmouth  
  • Jude Hall, Falmouth   
  • Bethany Lucio, Frankfort   
  • Sagar Patel, Shepherdsville   
  • Alyssa Turner, Foster  

Members of the project's junior leadership team include:  

  • Casey Hovis, Louisa   
  • Sarah Lakes, Cynthiana   
  • Dakota Murphy, Louisa   
  • Jennifer Nguyen, Grayson  
  • Josie Traver, Somerset  

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is a dual-credit academy for academically exceptional Kentucky students. Craft Academy provides students with a postsecondary residential experience to complete their junior and senior years of high school by enrolling in college courses. The Craft Academy aims to meet the unique educational needs of the Commonwealth's academically gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors. The academic rigor of the Craft Academy challenges students to excel at their highest level through project-based STEM+X courses and hands-on learning experiences, emphasizing innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement.  

To learn more about the project, contact Rogers at or 606-783-2891. 

To learn more about the Craft Academy, email or call 606-783-2093.  

Follow progress on the project by following HGA on social media: 

Top Photo: Craft Academy students Sarah Lakes of Cynthiana, Alyssa Turner of Foster, and Sophia Whitlock of Taylorsville, were part of a team of Craft Academy students who participated in a service-learning project at the Hazel Green Academy.  

Bottom Photo: Members of the HGA Senior Leadership Team include, front row from left to right: Dakota Murphy, Casey Hovis, and Bethany Lucio. Middle row, l-r: Jennifer Nguyen, Josie Traver, Dr. Rachel Rogers, Sarah Lakes, Ally Hall, and Alyssa Turner. Back row, l-r: Jude Hall, Derek Gill, Camryn Banbel, and Sagar Patel. 

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