Model Laboratory School announced Dr. Christopher Budano has been named Interim Secondary Principal. He is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at Model and will begin the new role on July 1, 2021, according to a press release.

“I’m completely committed to continuing the tradition of excellence Model is known for. It’ll be an honor to serve the students and families at Model Laboratory School in this new interim role,” Dr. Budano said in a release.

“Throughout his three years at Model, Dr. Budano has earned the respect of his colleagues, favor with students, and support of many parents. I’m excited to have someone on our administrative team who can continue our current vision, and I’m grateful that he has the passion and patience for building culture and excellence,” Model Superintendent John Williamson said in a release.

According to a release, Budano began his professional career teaching high school social studies in Maryland and went on to serve as a college counselor in New York. He then served as the Senior Director for Instructional Design for the Histories and Social Sciences at the College Board prior to coming to Model.

The release states, he earned his Ph.D in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Maryland, as well as a Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and Bachelor of Arts in History as well as Philosophy from the University of Scranton.

Near the beginning of the new school year, Model will host a Meet the Principal event so students and families can meet and speak with the new interim principal.

Madison County Students attend Governor's School for the Arts

After a tumultuous year which included the first-ever, entirely virtual remote Governor’s School for the Arts in summer 2020 due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the arts will return to in-person classes this summer at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, according to a release.

According to a release, from June 27 through July 17, The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA), a program of Kentucky Performing Arts (KPA), will virtually host 256 eager, young artists from every region of the commonwealth. The program will maintain numerous safety protocols to ensure safety and protection of all participating students and faculty.

The release states, during the three-week program, student-artists from 43 counties will be immersed in a rigorous schedule of daily online seminars, creative projects, master classes, and lectures. Instruction will be offered in nine disciplines.

Participating from Madison County is:

Luke Seals, of Berea Community High School, film + photography

Phoenix Bills, of Madison Southern High School, drama

Rianna Pais, of Model Laboratory School, creative writing

Model Names First AP Capstone diploma candidates

Model Laboratory School recognized three graduates as AP Capstone diploma candidates at the school’s graduation and c ommencement ceremony, according to a release.

Caleb Mayer, Everett Parker-Noblitt, and Allison Shaffer are the first from Model Laboratory School to receive the prestigious recognition.

The release states, Model is one of just 21 high schools in Kentucky that offers the program.

Recognized internationally and similar to the International Baccalaureate Diploma and The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education, the AP Capstone Diploma is awarded by the College Board, and is one of the most academically rigorous programs in the world.

“The AP Capstone Diploma enables students and teachers to focus on topics of their choice in great depth,” Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP and Instruction at the College Board, said in a release.

He added, “This provides terrific opportunities for students to develop the ability to write and present their work effectively, individually, and in groups—the very skills college professors want their students to possess.”

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone diploma.

The hallmark of the AP Capstone experience is the senior research project, which includes an academic paper, presentation, and oral defense.

“Throughout my experience taking AP courses and AP Research especially, I learned how to design, write, present, and defend a formalized research paper. I’m thankful to have had this experience because I’ll be confident in my skills to complete the process when I join a research project at the university,” Caleb Mayer, who plans to attend the University of Louisville, said in the release.

The other AP Capstone Diploma candidates, Everett Parker-Noblitt and Allison Shaffer, plan to attend Yale University and Georgetown College, respectively.

MSU alumna Sommai Purintun LeBron-Cooke creates scholarship endowment

Sommai Purintun LeBron-Cooke (92) has a passion for philanthropy, education and economic and social justice. Through the creation of a scholarship endowment with the MSU Foundation, she can support these causes that are important to her, according to a release.

The release states, Lebron-Cooke grew up in Morehead and graduated from Rowan County Senior High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in philosophy from MSU in 1992. She also holds a certification in sports philanthropy from The George Washington University School of Business. She now resides in the San Francisco Bay area. Lebron-Cooke has worked in the field of philanthropy for over a decade. In 2019, she founded IMPACT Sports Philanthropy. IMPACT assists athletes leveraging their platforms for social and environmental good. The company promotes philanthropy to advance economic, social and environmental justice for underserved communities.

According to the release, Lebron-Cooke has been a loyal and generous alumna for several years. In 2014, she began funding an annual scholarship through the MSU Foundation. To ensure the scholarship would continue to be awarded for years to come, she contributed $25,000 to endow the scholarship indefinitely.

“Morehead State University supported me through obstacles that could have been detrimental to obtaining a degree.” Lebron-Cooke said in a release. “I am proud to establish this scholarship that will continue advancing equity in education for young women with diverse ethnic backgrounds who make a difference in their communities through service to others.”

The release states, recipients of the Sommai Purintun LeBron-Cooke Scholarship must be residents of MSU’s 22-county service region with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above. Priority will be given to female students from Rowan and Pike counties from underrepresented minority groups. Student’s community service involvement will be taken into consideration during the selection process.

Students interested in applying to this scholarship, along with other privately funded scholarships managed by the MSU Foundation, should visit the online scholarship application at

For more information on this scholarship, or to establish your own, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you