Center dedicates lecture series in memory of beloved Kentucky social studies teacher

(Sept. 18, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Center dedicates lecture series in memory of beloved Kentucky social studies teacher

Carmen Thompson with McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg

The McConnell Center’s yearlong public programming is dedicated in memory of Carmen Thompson, a beloved Kentucky social studies educator who passed away July 13, 2020.

Director Gary Gregg made the announcement at the center’s Sept. 17 Constitution Day lecture.

“[Carmen] was one of the most energetic, gifted and engaged teachers I have ever met in my life. She was also a great patriot and I think would have loved this program tonight,” Gregg said before opening the debate on whether American history has sided with the Anti-Federalists.

Thompson, of Frankfort, Ky., retired from Elkhorn Middle School where she worked with the school’s National Junior Honors Society, KUNA and National History Day programs. She was often seen at the school’s basketball and football games, cheering on the University of Kentucky women's basketball team and attending Capital City Christian Church.

She was also dedicated to furthering her professional development, participating in McConnell Center civic education programs for several years. Notably, she attended the center’s Teacher Scholar Program three years in a row.

“Our Teacher Scholars Program is an intense yearlong learning experience for Kentucky teachers, and to attend three consecutive years illustrates Carmen’s dedication to furthering herself personally and professionally,” Gregg said.

Laureen Laumeyer, a fellow Teacher Scholar, praised Thompson's love for teachers and others.

"In the cookie of life, Carmen Thompson was the chocolate chips. She naturally brought flavor, sweetness and sass to anyone and every situation," Laumeyer said. "When I first met Carmen, I regarded her as an exemplary teacher—loving to learn, loving her students and desiring that her students love learning as much as she did. Her example challenged and inspired me to endeavor to be 'that kind' of teacher. But Carmen didn’t just stay a colleague. Carmen became a dear friend, and her footprints are cemented in my heart.”

The center’s upcoming public programs, all virtual, will be held September 2020 through April 2021.

Once social distancing restrictions are lifted, the center plans to invite past teacher alumni and friends to honor Thompson’s memory.