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Dixie Heights inaugural Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame award winners named — a real Who’s-Who

Dixie Heights High School announces the inaugural class of its Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

The distinguished award winners will be recognized for displaying excellence in their chosen occupation, community involvement, service to others, and exhibiting qualities as a role model. In addition, one former member of the Dixie Heights staff is honored for lasting contributions as an educator at Dixie Heights.

A banquet to recognize this year’s winners will take place on May 1 at the Airport Hilton. We are currently accepting reservations for this free event and are seeking members of the community to be table hosts to help support Dixie Heights Colonel Club, our parent organization to support students and staff at Dixie. Register here.

The inaugural Alumni class of 2022:

William Dorsey- 1968 Graduate
Trey Grayson- 1990 Graduate
Mark S. Padgett Jr.- 1999 Graduate
Mary Frances Penick- 1949 Graduate
Dr. Carol Caddell Roark- 1973 Graduate

Distinguished Educator- Irene McCracken, Dixie teacher- 1959-1984

William Dorsey

William Dorsey

William Dorsey, better known as Bill, is a member of the Dixie Heights class of 1968. Three years after graduation, Bill Dorsey was sworn in as a police officer with the Covington Police Department and has remained in law enforcement for more than forty years. Dorsey was instrumental in founding the School Resource Officer program in Kenton County, helping to secure nearly one million dollars in grant money for the project. He has also been named to or elected to various important board positions, including, but not limited to, President of the FBI National Academy Associates (Kentucky Chapter), President of the Northern Kentucky Chiefs of Police Association, Vice Chairperson of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Task Force, and Chairperson of the Tri-State Emergency Directors Association.

Trey Grayson

Trey Grayson

Trey Grayson graduated from Dixie Heights High School in 1990, earned an A.B. with honors from Harvard College in 1994, and then received a JD/MBA from the University of Kentucky in 1998. Grayson was elected the 83rd Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2003 and again in 2007. After his time in office, Grayson served as Director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics for four years and then returned to become President & CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a member of the law firm Frost Brown Todd and is managing director of their government relations affiliate.

Mark Padgett

Mark Padgett

Mark S. Padgett, Jr. graduated in 1999 from Dixie Heights High School and then graduated in 2003 from West Point Military Academy. Padgett served eight years of active duty for the United States Army and is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. During his service in Iraq, Padgett was awarded a Bronze Star and a Combat Action Badge. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves. In addition to his work with the Army, Padgett has served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department in Venezuela, Mexico, and, currently, Qatar.

Mary Frances Penick

Mary Penick (Sketter Davis)

Mary Frances Penick, also known as Skeeter Davis, graduated Dixie Heights High School in 1949. While she was a student, Mary and Betty Jack Davis formed the Davis Sisters, an American country music duo. Together they recorded I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know in 1953, which became the only number one country song by a female duet for the next 30 years. In her solo career, Skeeter Davis toured with June Carter, joined the Grand Ole Opry, and performed on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Davis’s biggest success came with the song “The End of the World,” her chart-topping signature song that has been lauded by such musicians as Lana Del Ray and the late Lou Reed. The song was also featured in 2015’s award-winning video game Fallout 4.

Carol Caddell Roark

Carol Roark

Dr. Carol Caddell Roark is a member of the Dixie Heights High School class of 1973. After high school, Roark attended Northern Kentucky University until 1977 and then the University of Louisville School of Medicine until 1981. She completed her pediatric residency at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. For more than forty years, Roark has supported medically underserved and financially disadvantaged families in Northern Kentucky with Healthpoint Family Care, where she serves as the only pediatrician in her office. In addition to her regular office hours, Roark coordinates support with social workers, Child Protective Services, and schools to help ensure the safety of her young patients.

Distinguished Educator: Irene McCracken

Irene McCracken (Kenton County Public Library archives

Irene McCracken worked as a teacher at Dixie Heights High School from 1959 to 1984, during which time she was a beloved teacher to her students and a guiding hand to new educators. McCracken through her career assumed many responsibilities; she began the student bookstore, driver’s education instructor, physical education teacher, business education teacher, cheerleading sponsor, began the original student spirit club. Always a strong supporter of Dixie Heights athletics, McCracken has worked the pass gate at football games for sixty-four years. In the words of one of her nominators, Irene McCracken is a Dixie Heights “icon” and a “true Colonel!!!”

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