One of the proudest moments of many people's lives are when they graduate. For one Perry County family, that feeling of pride was doubled when a father and daughter graduated on the same day. On Saturday, Oct. 3, Clifford Taylor, 85, and his daughter, Lydia Morgan, 55, both graduated together from Hazard Community and Technical College.
Lydia Morgan said it was her father’s idea that they both be enrolled in college so in the fall semester of 2018, she started taking classes. “We’re very competitive,” she said, adding they were enrolled in some of the same classes, such as Appalachian Studies with Professor Tim Dunn and Bluegrass History with Dean Osborne, the director of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music.
Both Morgan and her dad said they enjoyed performing with the music school.
“HCTC was a wonderful experience for us both and I would recommend HCTC to others,” Morgan said, stating that she especially enjoyed the music school faculty. “My Dad is hard of hearing and disabled, but everyone there was very accommodating to him.”
Morgan is a caregiver for her father. Her previous jobs include work with Community Ministries in Hazard and AmeriCorp in Leslie County. She said she looks forward to a future of helping others. Morgan said she plans to enroll at Eastern Kentucky University and major in Social Work in 2021.
Taylor is an U.S. Army veteran, having served in Vietnam and Germany, and earned a Bronze Star and many other military awards. He has served as an educator and as a coach in Texas and the Leslie County Schools. While Taylor was a student, he was one of two recipients of the KCTCS All-Academic Team award. This, said HCTC officials, is one of the most prestigious HCTC honors given to students. Taylor was also presented with the Distinguished Scholar award for having a perfect 4.0 in the Associate in Applied Science Program Professional Studio Artist: Bluegrass and Traditional Music.
When Taylor was honored, Osborne praised Taylor’s skill as a poet and songwriter.
“He brings a strong and honest energy that impresses everyone he meets. Mr. Cliff is not afraid to risk sharing his songs with the world,” said Osborne. He continued, “All of us who write and perform understand the fear that goes along with letting others hear our creations. He not only overcomes that fear, but also teaches some great life lessons about never giving up on doing what you want to do.”
Taylor, school officials said, has penned the lyrics for about 80 songs and, with the collaboration of instructors and students at the school, turned 20 plus lyrics into songs. One of these songs, which he co-wrote with instructor Virgil Bowlin, was recorded by a band at the school for release. Taylor and Osborne are preparing to record two songs.