Luanne Wilson chuckles when she receives a text from a former student: “Thanks for pushing my limits and my ass in class.”
Photos of past classes and a quilt that reads “It’s a good day to save a life” cover the walls of her office at Licking Valley Campus of Maysville Community and Technical College. She teaches nursing, and her passion for her hometown and its people drive her commitment to the success of her students.
“If you’re going to do something, do it right,” she says with a shrug. “I want to see good things come out of this county, and I want to be a part of it.”
At 60, when most would begin thinking about retirement, Luanne shows no signs of slowing down. Not only does she teach full time, but she is also studying for her Masters in Nursing Education. And in spite of the heavy workload, she's helped the Licking Valley MCTC nursing program to a 100% graduation rate and the No. 3 ranking in the state — making it the envy of instructors at the main MCTC campus. “They ask us to share our secret for success. We don’t have time for that!”
When asked why she keeps going, Luanne says, “It’s always been a people thing.” She knows the backstories to most Cynthianans, whether they are from her high school class, a relative of a friend, or a member of her church congregation. She becomes animated when talking about funny moments with friends, of which there are many. And she softens to a hushed voice when sharing stories of students who face challenges she will never understand.
In the classroom she is stern and serious about the content of her lecture, weaving in anecdotes from her own nursing experiences to stress her point. At the same time she manages to sprinkle moments of humor throughout the lesson with a contagious laugh. The students soak her up. And when they come by her office after class, she stops what she’s doing, gives them a good hard look and asks about life.
“It doesn’t matter whether you know anybody or not, somebody is going to be friendly to you.” Luanne says of Cynthiana. “I can remember my dad saying, when we lived in Richmond, Virginia, ‘I’d give $100 to be able to walk down the street in Cynthiana and somebody say “Hey Randy! How you doing?” whether they meant it or not.’ That is what draws me here.”
She greets people she knows everywhere she goes. And she means it when she asks, “How you doing?”