SOAR Summit Engages High School, College Students from Across the Region

Pikeville, KY. – Students from high schools, colleges, and universities from across the region were highlighted at the 2019 SOAR Summit.

The two-day event, held at the Appalachian Wireless Arena, attracted more than 1,300 people and featured more than 90 interactive exhibits. Several schools and colleges from across the region exhibited, including:

· Bath County High School KY Solar Cats (Solar Car) Racing Team

· Belfry High School’s Robotics Program

· Johnson Central’s Pathway to Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Program

· Lawrence County’s Aviation Program

· Hope Building, a collaboration involving Hazard Community and Technical College, Housing Development Alliance, Inc, Perry County Drug Court, Hickory Hill Recovery Center, and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, inc. (EKCEP)

· Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s fiber program

· Somerset Community College’s Emergency Medical Technician and Licensed Practical Nursing Program

· Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Allied Health and Manufacturing Programs.

· Ashland Community and Technical College’s Advanced Integrated Technology Program

· Maysville Community and Technical College’s Accelerated Lineman Program

· Morehead State University’s Space Science Center

· Eastern Kentucky University’s LINC and Aviation Programs

· Kentucky State University’s Center for Sustainable Farms and Families

· University of Pikeville’s Simbulance (simulated ambulance)

· University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Optometry

Johnson Central High School’s honor choir performed the National Anthem and My Old Kentucky Home.  Cadets from the Appalachian Challenge Academy in Harlan County presented the colors. 

SOAR, or Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), offered schools, colleges, and universities across the region the opportunity to showcase innovative programs.  Additionally, through SOAR’s partners and event sponsors, students were able to attend the Summit free through a scholarship program.  Students that could not attend could also watch the Summit via LiveStream and contribute ideas through Slido, a crowdsourcing application used at the Summit for the first time.  

“We believe that talking about the future of the region requires having the future of the region at the table,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “We are so thankful to our partners working throughout our educational system.”

Nancy Hutchinson, executive director of the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC) has worked with SOAR on a variety of projects. This year marked the second year that the group highlighted their ACE, or Achievement in Career Engagement Program.

 “I have witnessed firsthand how SOAR has worked to bring people, businesses, schools, and communities together,” said Hutchinson. “It is so important to have organizations like this hosting and facilitating convenings that are producing results for the people of Appalachia Kentucky.”

Several schools utilized the scholarship program to have students in attendance. They included: The University of the Cumberlands, Allen Elementary School, Bath County High School, Belfry High School, Betsy Layne High School, Johnson Central High School, Lawrence County High School, Lee County High School, Lee County Middle School and Floyd Central High School.

 If you are a part of a school that would like to further be engaged in SOAR’s program of work, contact Joshua Ball, associate executive director, at (606) 766-1160 or email

To learn more about SOAR, visit  To see proof of SOAR’s Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia in action, visit