Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Ceremonially Signs Legislation to Finalize High School Academy at Morehead State University

Press Release Date:  Monday, March 30, 2015  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

House Bill 232 is housekeeping measure added Academy’s authority to state law

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today joined local and state leaders to ceremonially sign House Bill 232, which supports the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State University.

House Bill 232 authorizes the Craft Academy, which is scheduled to open in August, to issue state scholarships and high school diplomas.

“Much like the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University, the Craft Academy is another tool for Kentucky in producing the best and brightest leaders of tomorrow,” Gov. Beshear said. “Its location at Morehead State University is a boon for eastern Kentucky and mirrors the efforts of our SOAR initiative.”

The Craft Academy was created during the 2014 General Assembly as a line item in the budget bill to allow exceptional high school juniors and seniors across the state to attend a “boarding school” type academy at Morehead State University.

After the measure passed in 2014, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) advised lawmakers that language authorizing the Academy to issue diplomas and students to earn Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships (KEES) awards was missing in the original budget language.

The measure amends state law to include the Craft Academy in the definitions of dual credit and dual enrollment; to allow students enrolled in the Craft Academy to earn KEES scholarships and to require the Craft Academy to report data for KEES scholarship purposes.

“I was honored to assist with these final organizational details as we look forward to opening this unique educational experience for high school students who are academically talented and ready to be challenged at the highest level,” said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, of Sandy Hook, who sponsored HB 232. “The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics will prepare these students for the promise of the new technology-based economy while promoting excellence in innovation, leadership and creativity.”

“The KEES program is designed to provide incentives and rewards for achievement and keep students in state for college and careers,” said Dr. Carl Rollins, executive director of KHEAA. “With the passage of HB 232, Craft students will be rewarded for the hard work and dedication this academy will require.”

“There are great things happening at MSU, and the establishment of the Craft Academy marks another step toward our vision of becoming the best public university in the South,” said MSU President Wayne D. Andrews. “We are extremely grateful for the work of our legislators who helped advocate for this in the General Assembly and for the generosity of Mr. Joe Craft in his gift to Morehead State that made the Academy possible. I believe this will be transformative not only for our University, but also for Eastern Kentucky and beyond.”

“The overarching goal of the Craft Academy is to develop the next generation of leaders and change-makers in the STEM fields,” said Dr. Carol Christian, director of the Craft Academy. “These students represent some of the most academically talented in the state, and we want to educate and empower them to improve the quality of life in our region and the Commonwealth.”