Lieutenant governor visits HCHS


John Henson

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton (second from left) met with Harlan County school officials before talking with students at Harlan County High School. She is pictured with Harlan County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard, Harlan County High School Principal Edna Burkhart and Harlan County High School assistant principal Mark Bailey.

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton toured Harlan County High School on Tuesday then presented a challenge to students during a program in the school’s auditorium.

“Put on your thinking caps,” said Hampton as she told students about her statewide entrepreneurship challenge. “I find young people to be creative and energetic out-of-the-box thinkers.”

Hampton told the HCHS students she was touring the state to promote the Lt. Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge (LGEC).

The LGEC consists of a business plan proposal and live pitch competition. It will include two components: a regional competition and a state competition. Harlan County is included in Zone 5, which will have its regional competition at the University of Pikeville. She said each team will consist of two to four students along with two adult coaches, either teachers or parents.

The state competition will take place on April 29 at the Gatton College of Business and Economics’ Kincaid Auditorium at the University of Kentucky.

Hampton,who answered questions from students at the end of the program, also shared some of her history with the students, including how she grew up in Detroit as one of four girls.

“My mom didn’t get past eighth grade. He options were limited because she didn’t graduate from high school,” Hampton said.

Hampton said her mother pushed her to succeed. She told the Harlan County High School students she was inspired by following NASA’s work and listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The lieutenant governor was greeted at HCHS by Harlan County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard and Harlan County High School Principal Edna Burkhart.

Hampton toured the school with assistant principal Mark Bailey and was impressed by one of the state’s most modern facilities, now in its ninth year of serving Harlan County students.

“This building is absolutely gorgeous, it really is,” said Hampton when talking to the students. “It’s like a college campus. It’s the best high school I’ve been in. I hope you appreciate it.”

Hampton, the first black person in Kentucky to be elected to a statewide office and the second black woman to be elected lieutenant governor in United States history, was asked by current governor Matt Bevin to run with him. They won the Republican nomination then won the general election in November of 2015.

Further details about the entrepreneurship challenge are available online at