John Carman started the CARMAN Landscape Architecture firm, which is based in Lexington and Louisville, about 43 years ago. He is also a 1972 Danville High School graduate and has worked on several landscape architecture projects for the school district and broader Danville community.
Carman first got interested in landscape architecture as a senior in high school. Now, he's worked on several projects within the district, including an athletic facility master plan, as well as renovations, expansions and other projects at Mary G. Hogsett Primary School, the old Jennie Rogers building, and Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School, and more.
He chatted with Danville Schools about his journey with the school district.
Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
Elementary school was at Jennie Rogers. It was the old original Bate School where I attended seventh and eighth grade. That was before it was torn down and the new Bate was built. And then from there, I went to Danville High School for four years.
I’m not sure that there was any one particular highlight. I think it was just the experience of going through the schools knowing that Danville was a very highly-ranked academic school system — and I think it still is — and getting to know the people. The variety of different teachers I had was really good. I enjoyed all the people I was with in my class. We just had our 50th reunion recently and attended a football game.
I was on the tennis team and the wrestling team and enjoyed sports and attending sporting events. It was just a very good experience. I think the teachers did a really great job preparing everybody for the next step, whether it was college or a vocation or whatever. They had Key Club. I got really involved with that at the high school and even got involved on a regional and national basis. That was one of the many highlights also.
What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
I would say probably the discipline that was instilled upon the students from the administration and the teachers and coaches. I well remember the principal and vice principal, and they were very stern. The vice principal at the time, Jerry Boyd, was also the wrestling and football coach, and he didn’t compromise on his discipline. A lot of the other teachers I had really instilled a sense of discipline that probably has carried forward. The teachers really motivated their students.
When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
I think it would go without saying that my mother, who was a teacher for many, many years in the school system certainly had a huge influence on me and my education and my profession. I think there were a number of teachers or coaches — I mentioned Jerry Boyd — and Don Hoffman, he was a chemistry/physics teacher. I took a drafting, or shop, class that kind of got me interested in preparing plans, so that was kind of influential, I’d have to say. Coach EG Plummer — he was a lot of fun but very strict and kind of a no-nonsense kind of guy — I thought a lot of Coach Plummer.
As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
I would say that all parents should advocate for education. That doesn’t necessarily always mean college education, but just advocate that their children should always continue to learn and be disciplined about learning, and make sure their children are serious about getting a good education.
As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
I always feel a sense of pride working in Danville, whether it’s for the schools or other projects. We have done a lot of other projects in the community outside of just the Danville School system. I see people from Danville — not just me — have a really strong sense of pride and feel compelled to give back when we can. I’m always proud to be involved in projects with the school system or any other project in the city. We do a lot of work at Centre College and have done a variety of other areas in the community over the years. K-12 — that really is the foundation and your roots.
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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