TCCHS Showcase 2016

“TCCHS Showcase 2016”

~Article by Carolyn L. Wells
January 12, 2016

Let me encourage everyone to map out three dates – April 22, 23, and 24, 2016 – for this year’s “TCCHS Showcase.” This year’s event, which will occur on a Friday night, a Saturday night, and a Sunday afternoon, has as its theme “Showcase on the Silver Screen,” a musical production that will see a compilation of movie songs, ballads, and blues spanning the musical eras of the 1900’s into modern day. Darlene Groves, organizer for the event and a 1972 TCCHS graduate, stated this year’s “Showcase” would again see the extraordinary talents so much a part of Todd County’s student body along with the many talents of alumni of TC as well. When you toss in the assorted talents of ‘adopted’ Todd Countians, you can be assured the 2016 version will again be a production worthy for all to witness. Mrs. Groves messaged, “One of the greatest joys in my teaching career was when I saw former students ‘shine’ in their accomplishments.  It’s difficult for me to express in words the magnitude of the joy I experienced during the ‘2015 Showcase.’  I am so humbled for the opportunity to work again with such talent in Todd County.”

Assisting Mrs. Groves with this year’s production will be several TCCHS alumni including Vivian Templeman (Class of 1978), Jeremy Long (Class of 1998), Leslie Rager (Class of 1984), Brittany Prather (Class of 1991), and Carolyn Wells (Class of 1968). Also providing their talents and expertise are Calvin Warren, TCCHS band director; Lee Ann McCuiston, 4-H agent; and Halie Sawyers, a TCCHS senior who is known throughout the area as an extraordinary talent. Mr. Warren, who is in his eighth year as band director at TC, emailed, “I am very excited about the 2016 Todd County Showcase! Planning for the 2016 production from the ‘stage to the silver screen’ is underway, and the community can expect many exciting performance elements.”

Halie Sawyers, who has also performed in recent months at the Hard Rock Café in Nashville, added, “‘Showcase’ is a great opportunity for the community to come together and create something. What’s rewarding about it is a job exists for everyone, even if it’s a job that’s off stage.” She also explained, “Last year’s performance was a tremendous experience and a huge success; we learned so much about how to put on a good show. I’m really excited to see how this year’s show turns out.” Those who saw the production in May 2015 will recall outstanding performances by many students ranging from the elementary level to middle school to high school. Also contributing their expertise were folks from the community whose talents as singers, dancers, performers, and production managers are well known. This year’s event will again couple the talents of older folks with the extraordinary talents of the future generation. Mrs. Groves added, “We all have favorite movies and music, and this year’s production will see a blending of those two genres on stage at TCCHS.”

As we all are aware, Todd County Central High and our community are so very blessed to have a state-of-the-art auditorium that can be utilized to bring the countless talents of so many folks onto the stage and into our lives. If you saw the performance last year, please be sure to spread the message about the high caliber of a performance that can be anticipated this year. If you were unable to see the performance last year or failed to do so, please plan ahead and make certain one or several of those dates – April 22, 23, or 24 – are on your calendar! I know you will not be disappointed!




Guest Blog: Kentucky New Era Photojournalist Kat Russell

Note: This story originally appeared in the Kentucky New Era.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photojournalist Kat Russell, a California native, set out on one of three daytrips suggested by Todd County’s Community Alliance, a group promoting Todd County tourism. She is sharing her experience about “Let’s Go Country,” an itinerary for a trip that can be seen at

GUTHRIE, Ky. — Until a few weeks ago, I had never been to Guthrie. Having just moved here a few months ago and being kept busy by my job, I haven’t had much of a chance to explore the surrounding counties except when on assignment.  So, recently I took a daytrip through Guthrie — one of several I plan to take through the surrounding towns to see the sights and meet people and learn about their lives.

For those who don’t know, Todd County’s Community Alliance website,, has some great daytrip itineraries for anyone wanting to explore not only the sights, but the local businesses as well.

I decided to start with the website’s “Let’s Go Country” daytrip, which starts in downtown Guthrie and then fans out into the country. I should mention that when they say “daytrip” they mean it’s a full day’s itinerary.  I only made it halfway through the trip since I had to be at work in the afternoon, but the places I got to visit and the lovely people I got to meet and talk with made me more than excited to continue the trip as soon as I can.

Longhurst General Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Longhurst General Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

The first place on the list was Longhurst General Store on South Ewing Street in downtown Guthrie.  Bill Longhurst Sr. and his wife, Robbye, opened the shop in 1937. At the time, they stocked it with all sorts of things from hardware to foodstuffs.  Today, the shop is owned by their son, Bill Longhurst Jr., who remembers growing up in the shop and working there after school and during the summers.  He said he had never really planned on taking over the store after his parents retired, but that now he wouldn’t want to do anything else.  “I could have already retired years ago,” he said, “but I don’t want to. I like being here every day and seeing the people who come in.”

Bill and I talked about a lot of things.  He showed me the pictures of him and his brother and the mule Bill bought when he was about 10 years old.  “I really wanted this mule,” he said. “The guy who owned it was selling it for $8, but I only had $6.”  So Bill went home to scrape together some more money or find something to trade for the mule. In the end, the man settled for Bill’s $6.  “So there I am, walking home with this mule and my mom and dad had no idea I had even bought it,” he laughed.  The photo he showed me depicted him and his brother sitting on the mule’s back.

There were other photos hanging in the shop too. Some of Bill in or in front of the shop, others were photos from his family’s history like his grandfather’s

Bill Longhurst, Longhurst General Store.  Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Bill Longhurst, Longhurst General Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

general store from the late 1800s and there were historical pictures of downtown Guthrie.  Bill said that in the 1950s, Guthrie was a “boomtown.” It was always busy on Saturday nights with people coming to town to socialize or see a “motion picture.” This was before TV or the Internet, he said.

When I visited, the downtown street was empty and half the buildings were vacant.  Bill said that over the years, Guthrie has slowed down a bit — not because there are less people, but because they have found different ways to socialize and entertain themselves.  Televisions and computers, in Bill’s opinion, have led to more people staying inside and less person-to-person interaction, which is a sad state of affairs.  I stayed and talked with Bill for more than an hour. He had so many interesting things to say, I could have stayed there all day but, as I was on a schedule, I had to say my goodbyes and move on to the next location.

The Southern Kentucky Flea Market was second on the day’s itinerary. I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to this one.  In my head, I pictured a bunch of useless junk crammed and cluttered into every corner of a musty smelling warehouse. This, however, was not at all what I found.  Located off the Dixie Beeline Highway on Cyprus Lane, the Southern Kentucky Flea Market is the largest flea market in the area with more than 150 booths, according to the Todd County Community Alliance.  

Southern Kentucky Flea Market. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Southern Kentucky Flea Market. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

When I walked in, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a historical treasure-trove; I felt like I had stepped into the past.  As I made my way up and down the jam-packed aisles, I saw everything from old clothes and books to antique furniture and trunks, to crystal and ceramics.  There were old photographs, baseball cards, paintings, collections of old cast iron griddles and irons, promo posters, silverware, lithographs, glass medicine bottles, toys, miniatures and so much more.

Even more surprising to me was the owner, Jamison Covington, a young, tattooed, Hollywood-looking type who told me he and his wife, Dai, have owned the market for the past three years.  Jamison’s father opened the flea market 27 years ago. When his father was ready to give up the business, Jamison and his wife stepped in and took over.  “(My wife and I) were living in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade and got sick of the city,” Jamison said. “We wanted to come back and do something different.”

Jamison said his dad was never that interested in the flea market to begin with; he was more just interested in having a business.

Southern Kentucky Flea Market. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Southern Kentucky Flea Market. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Jamison, however, saw what I saw: a treasure chest of unique and interesting objects.  “It’s like an adventure,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to come across.”

After talking to Jamison, I made one more sweep through the tight aisles of the market, making a mental list of things I wanted to come back to check out, and I said my goodbyes as it was time for me to head out to the next stop — Penchem Tack Store on Guthrie Road.     

Penchem Tack Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Penchem Tack Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Penchem Tack is an Amish Mennonite-owned business and horse enthusiast’s paradise that specializes in making and repairing fine leather saddles.  Housed in a rustic two-story building with creaky hardwood floors and filled with the heady scent of well-oiled leather, the store is divided into two departments; most of the tack and extraneous items are upstairs, and the saddles and repair shop are downstairs.

In addition to saddles and tack, they sell all sorts of western items and leather goods as well as Western-themed gift items like coffee mugs, belt buckles, purses and more.  I especially liked a candle lantern I saw which was made from rust-colored metal and had mesh sides, except for the silhouette of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco on its side. 

Johnny Yoder has owned Penchem Tack since 1996. He took the shop over after his father retired.  He said he grew up working in

Saddles Inside Penchem Tack Store.  Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Saddles Inside Penchem Tack Store. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

the shop and learning how to work with leather. He is a man of few words who said he likes the work he does and enjoys working with leather.  I didn’t stay long at the shop, as time was quickly slipping away and Johnny was busy helping a couple pick out a saddle and so I said my “thank yous” and moved on to Schlabach’s Bakery.

Fresh Baked Bread from Schlabach's Bakery. Photo Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Fresh Baked Bread from Schlabach’s Bakery. Photo Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

A few miles up from Penchem Tack, Schlabach’s Bakery, another Amish Mennonite-owned business, sits a little ways back from the road and looks like more of a home than a bakery. A good marker for the shop is its large billboard sign that sits across the street.  Leroy Schlabach and his wife own the bakery, which was started in 1970 by his wife and mother-in-law.

“They either had to milk more cows and expand their dairy business or sell the dairy cows out and go into a different avenue like baking,” Leroy said.  Schlabach’s is a simple little bakery. Leroy said one thing that sets his business apart from other bakeries is they don’t use mixes — everything is started from scratch — and they don’t add preservatives to their foods.

In addition to the baked goods, they make their own jams and jellies and they also produce a bit of their own honey from the four

Jelly from Schlabach's Bakery. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

Jelly from Schlabach’s Bakery. Picture Credit: Kat Russell / Kentucky New Era

hives they keep.  When I stopped by the shop, there wasn’t much on the shelves. Leroy said they usually let the shop’s inventory drop toward the end of the week in order to curb waste, but the smell of bread and cinnamon rolls baking filled my head and made my mouth water.

Over the years, Leroy said the business has expanded and grown and with it their products have diversified. They now have pies, fried fruit pies, cookies, cakes, sweet rolls and doughnuts.  I also learned a little bit about the Amish Mennonite culture.  He was so friendly and open I could have stayed all day, but I made my way back to Hopkinsville feeling a little richer in my new life here and grateful for having had the opportunity to meet such interesting and friendly people.

Kat Russell is the New Era photojournalist. She can be reached at 270-887-3241 or

Guest Blog: TCCHS Alumni Association


The TCCHS Alumni Association Launches Its Website and Facebook Page

 By: Carolyn L. Wells

Todd Central High SchoolThe beginning of the school year 1963-1964 saw students and teachers awaiting their entrance into a modern high school equipped with all the new furnishings – new desks, new science equipment, new textbooks, new books in a library, a new cafeteria, new industrial arts and vocational areas, and many new faces as the former high schools scattered throughout our county converged onto the campus of Todd Central, a structure located close to the Elkton city limits on Clarksville Street. That year saw a group of seniors abandon their former schools to embrace one from which in a few short months they would graduate – I imagine that was quite an adjustment for students who had more than likely spent their earlier years in the same school setting, most of them in a school very small in size in comparison to Todd Central and very limited in its academic offerings.

Fast forward the clock to the 2013-2014 school year, and many new faces now walk the halls of a now renovated and much larger TCCHS as they complete a momentous year in the life of any school, whether it be one at the elementary, middle, secondary, private, public, or collegiate level. This school year, the 50th year in the history of TCCHS, will end with the Class of 2014 exiting the building once more to begin their journeys in life beyond the high school setting. Obviously, that scenario has been encountered 49 times during those previous 49 years, and this year will again see the seniors of TCCHS become the high school graduates they are now working to become. It would indeed be interesting to research the number of students this current school year who have links back to the original graduating class of 1964.

As many folks are aware, a group of alumni and friends of Todd Central are currently working to form an alumni association aimed at uniting the 49 years of graduates who have walked and exited the halls of TCCHS. Obviously, the records of those early years at Todd Central are not computerized, and the alumni association is presently creating a database of information about the 49 years of students who have graduated. When you consider that many of those early years had senior classes with nearly 150 or so graduates, then you can fathom how difficult it is to pull in all the names of the many students who have graduated, perhaps a total approaching over 4900 folks with a minimum of 100 seniors a year and a total approaching over 6000 with years averaging 125 graduates. 

That task is indeed one the alumni association is asking the public for help with using their new website as the route for former students and graduates to enter their current information including their physical address, year of graduation, and interest in joining or assisting the association. The WEBSITE is also serving as a medium for communication of events the alumni association is planning. Again, the organization is in its infancy, and all the ‘goals and objectives’ of the organization have not been finalized; however, the motto of the organization is evident on its home page – “Celebrating Our Past, Present, and Future.” 

Because of the vast number of friends of Todd Central, the association is also interested in involving the general public and not just alumni only. To become a member of the association for a year as either a graduate or a friend, the membership fee is $10.00, and for a lifetime membership, either for former students or friends of TC, a minimum contribution of $200.00 is requested. Since the association is working under the umbrella of the recently founded Todd County School District Foundation for Excellence in Public Education, Inc., the alumni association has tax-exempt status, thus making donations to the organization tax deductible.

Obviously, we realize that many of the graduates of Todd Central are scattered throughout the world, and the website will allow those individuals an opportunity to become involved in helping Todd Central to celebrate its rich heritage. I know personally students who live in Guam, in Hawaii, in Spain, in New York City, in California, and in myriad other places scattered not only in the United States but in other nations as well. I also know students who have made their marks in professions as doctors, lawyers, construction workers, engineers, educators, farmers, business owners, chemists, accountants, pharmacists, ‘stay-at-home’ moms, dental hygienists, and the many other professions the students of TCCHS have embraced. Todd Central can indeed ‘celebrate its past, present, and future.’ We invite you to become actively involved, and we ask you to share our link with those you know who are a part of Todd Central’s rich heritage. Our FACEBOOK presence is visible, and we also invite you to embrace that social avenue as well.

The next meeting of the TCCHS Alumni Association is Thursday, September 19, 2013, at the Todd County Board of Education at 205 Airport Road in Elkton. If you have questions, please email them to We sincerely hope you will become an active supporter of the alumni association and work to promote the ‘gathering of the 49 years of graduates’ who have been a part of the history of Todd Central. An unknown writer contributed this quote – “Homecoming unites the past and the present.” For Todd Central the effort is ongoing to embrace the 49 years of its past to bridge the gap to its present and its future as well. 

Guest Blog: Lindsey Wilson College


       Do you love helping others?  Have a passion for service?  Strive to improve your own life?   Complete a Bachelor’s degree in 18 months or a Master’s in 24 months at the School of Professional Counseling at Lindsey Wilson College in Hopkinsville.  Our accelerated programs are nationally accredited and designed to meet the needs of most working adults.  Classes are offered in a convenient weekend format at Hopkinsville Community College with advisor availability throughout the week

Lindsey Wilson College is a small liberal arts college based in Columbia, Kentucky. We have extended campuses that hold classes at community colleges for an undergraduate degree in Human Services and Counseling and a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development. The latter is preparation for becoming a licensed professional counselor.  Job opportunities in both fields are growing at a faster than average rate according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
, 2012-13 Edition

     For more information about our programs, please see information below:

Coordinator:  Laura Black
Phone: (270) 707-3995
Visit Website

     Lindsey Wilson College also operates a community counseling center in Hopkinsville. Services are no cost and completely confidential.  The school opened the center as a service to the community and as a training facility for graduate students in internship. Our professional counselor interns are second year graduate students who have been carefully selected to provide services.  For more information or to set up an appointment, please call (270) 886-3145.

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