Local Leadership class project is newest feature to downtown greenspace; state-of-the-art playground will also be installed this summer
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (June 6, 2022) — The Leadership Lake Cumberland Class of 2020 unveiled its newest literacy trail at Rocky Hollow Park Saturday — a tribute to a young author with brain cancer who wants to spread her love of reading, and a local elementary school teacher who shared her love of reading to students for 30 years.
The Mrs. Robyn Gifford Cheuvront Readers to Leaders Story Book Trail is the latest installment of this leadership class project, which endeavors to place a literacy trail in every park in Pulaski County. What started as an initiative to highlight local children’s book authors, however, expanded when organizer Jessica Carlton discovered 11-year-old Gwyn Morgan from Frankfort.
“We wanted to showcase local children’s book authors, and had started having discussions about expanding to other counties when I read an email about an employee who works with the Kentucky Chamber,” said Carlton, who also serves as the chief accounting officer for the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA). “His daughter had just written a children’s book.”
Gwyn’s book, Drippy: The Tale of the Sad Rain Cloud, is no ordinary book, however. It is the story of how she has emotionally processed brain cancer diagnosis, and encouragement to allow sadness to help find joy. The book was made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation — writing a children’s book to share her love of reading was Gwyn’s wish.
“Gwyn’s insight to her emotions and her diagnosis is on every page,” Carlton said to the group attending Saturday’s ribbon cutting. “Her family is just a super family. I’ve gotten to know them a little bit and they’re amazing.”
While the Morgan family could not be present for the ribbon-cutting, Cheuvront attended along with her family and the many teachers, administrators, family and friends who donated to dedicate the trail to her.
Cheuvront said having a storybook trail named in her honor is “a gift.”
“Saturday was fun and overwhelming in a good way. But I think the honor really hit me Sunday evening when a dear friend and I walked back through the trail,” Cheuvront said. “It was in the quietness that I was able to take in the beauty of the trail and appreciate the project and the many people that made it happen. I looked at the sign at the entrance and I thought of the many teachers and teacher assistants (especially the ones with whom I have been fortunate enough to work) that deserve to have a trail named in their honor. Then I looked at the pictures of Gwyn and her family and slowly read her book. My heart was full. I was like the farmer in ‘Drippy’ — I was smiling through my tears. I have been incredibly blessed to work with children. They are pure, brave, and hopeful.”
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck expressed his gratitude to the Morgan family, to the Leadership Lake Cumberland class members and their efforts to give back to the community through this project, and to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for helping make the trail possible. And he praised Cheuvront and her family for their dedication to the community and to education, noting that two of his daughters had developed a love of reading from Cheuvront’s influence.
“I know how much they love the school and teaching, but also Somerset,” he said to the crowd. “This is a Jumper family. They have a lot of rich history and they continue to serve and lead and represent the community in a great way. I think it’s really neat that you all are going to be memorialized in this way.”
The trail is the latest enhancement to Rocky Hollow Park, which was renovated during the pandemic in 2020 to improve the walking trail and amphitheater, install new bridges, and enhance safety. This summer, the literacy trail will be complemented by a state-of-the-art playground — Fisher Fun Park Too, similar to the playground at Somersport Park — at Rocky Hollow’s Main Street entrance. Together, the trail and playground will offer a new option for families to enjoy the outdoors in downtown Somerset.
“I think this is a place where families will feel that sense of community that we’ve been working so hard for,” Keck said.