‘We’re so thankful he thought about us’: EKY country music legend gives back to alma mater’s Class of 2022

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Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Award-winning country music star Chris Stapleton is known for giving back to his hometown and alma mater. He has donated more than $50,000 for musical instruments as well as a free concert for students and the community of Johnson County in 2016.

This year, Stapleton is inviting the Johnson Central Class of 2022 to his April 23 concert at Kroger Field in Lexington.

“He’s covering all expenses, which includes the cost of the ticket as well as transportation,” said Johnson Central Principal Justin Arms. “It’s just a huge, generous gesture on his behalf.”

When Arms let the seniors in on Stapleton’s plans, the class was excited to celebrate their graduation with a fellow Golden Eagle.

“It was within 30 minutes that we had over half of our senior class had signed up for that and then I opened it up for chaperones and I really think that may be one of the fastest response times, too, for some of our faculty and staff to volunteer,” said Arms. “Again, we’re just celebrating the accomplishments and we’re so thankful that he’s thought about us.”

The trip will give the senior class, who missed much of their sophomore and junior years due to the pandemic, an opportunity to truly bond and make memories.

“Our class missed out a lot because of COVID and this is like, one of the big things we get to do as a class,” said Johnson Central senior Sydney May. “I feel like this will be something we can, like, cherish together and really remember forever, so I’m excited.”

It is also a celebration of the Class of 2022′s accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of a local legend.

“It really made me happy just so I can, you know, go see the hometown legend, go perform,” said Johnson Central senior Keygan Pelfrey.

Arms, who was a math teacher at Johnson Central when Stapleton graduated in 1996, said it is wonderful to have someone so successful come from your hometown to serve as a role model for the next generation, it is great that Stapleton has always remembered his roots, and wanted to thank him for continually giving back to his community.

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