Oldham County History Center Gala
Retired Oldham County educator
Arvin to be honored
He rose up the ranks to superintendent
of Oldham schools
LA GRANGE, Ky. (June 2017) – In his 16-year career as superintendent of Oldham County Schools, Dr. Robert Arvin has faced many challenges head on. He has tackled many issues with tenacity, earning him the 2017 recipient of the J. Chilton Barnett Champion of Oldham County History award.
• Tickets for the Summertime Blues Gala are $150 each, or a table of eight for $1,200. Payment can be made by check or credit card by calling the History Center at (502) 222-0826.
Arvin will be presented with this award on Friday, June 23, during the Oldham County Historical Society’s annual Gala at the Oldham County History Center in La Grange, Ky. The event will kick off with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will follow at 7:30 p.m. Silent and live auctions will take place at 8:30 p.m. with guest auctioneer Mike Simpson. Entertainment will be provided by The Thrillers.
Arvin was born on June 23, 1941, at the Mallory Taylor Hospital in La Grange, Ky. His parents were Robert and Martha Dunaway Arvin. His grandfather, Raymond Arvin, owned a 150-acre farm in Oldham County where Arvin learned how to raise dairy cattle, tobacco, put up hay and drive a tractor.
In addition to working on the farm, his father worked at the ammunition plant in Charlestown, Ind., during the war years, from 1941-1942. When Arvin was in seventh grade, his family moved to a farm in Trimble County. Arvin was one of six kids.
Farm life didn’t afford much time for leisure activities, but Arvin did participate in Future Farmers of America. He remembers working on all kinds of projects – cattle judging, managing livestock, crops – and being a part of the chapter meeting team where he learned parliamentary procedure. He liked the competitiveness of team.
“FFA was the main thing I did because I was still working on our farm in the morning and evening,” he said.
Arvin scraped and saved up enough money from raising 1/10 of an acre of tobacco allotted him from his father, along with other odd jobs to go to college. Georgetown College is where he met his future wife, Bonnie. Theirs was a whirlwind romance. They met in April and married in August.
Arvin decided he wanted to be a teacher. His first teaching job was in Cynthiana in Harrison County, Ky., teaching social studies. His wife also got a job there teaching history and French. The principal asked Arvin to take a counselor position, which he did as he worked on his master’s degree in guidance counseling at Eastern Kentucky University.
After his wife had a baby, they moved to Louisville where Arvin worked for the Jefferson County Schools system. The superintendent of Oldham County Schools at the time offered him a guidance counselor position at Oldham County Junior High, which was a more desirable place to work for Arvin. He transferred to the high school the following year, 1972-1973.
Arvin was a dedicated employee whose leadership and ideas were soon embraced by those around him. It didn’t take long for him to be promoted to superintendent of the school system, a role he held for 16 years.
He saw a lot of change and through it all, he led the school system toward a positive future and established a legacy that will not be forgotten. The leadership he provided for Oldham County is just one of the reasons he was chosen as this year’s recipient of the 2017 J. Chilton Barnett Champion of Oldham County History Award. This honor is bestowed annually upon an individual who exhibits the qualities necessary to preserve history in the community.
This year’s Gala theme, Summertime Blues, reflects a time reminiscent of the 1950s when families held reunions and picnics, had parties at the lake, community fish fries and teenagers rode bicycles everywhere on summer evenings.
In addition to dinner and dancing, the Gala will feature a contest for best themed dress with prizes awarded to the best group, best female and best male. There will be a hula hoop contest with a great prize for the winner in addition to bragging rights.
Auction items include an overnight stay for up to 14 people at Hermitage Farm; barbecue dinner and breakfast; handcrafted outdoor grill cart; a cocktail party for up to 12 people at the History Center Museum; barbecue for 50 at the home of T.K. and Shari Broecker; two lower level basketball tickets for the 2017-2018 Kentucky Wildcats; a week on Sanibel Island for up to six people; and various themed gift baskets.
All proceeds from this annual Gala fundraiser go toward annual operational costs for the Oldham County Historical Society. “Since the Oldham County History Center opened its doors in 1998, we have welcomed tourists, visitors and residents to explore the world of discovery through he lens of local history,” said Executive Director Nancy Stearns Theiss.
The money made from the Gala and loyal donors are crucial to keeping the doors open. Theiss wants the History Center to become “a vital resource for local, regional and state history.”
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