Promise Neighborhood Artist Shares Appalachian Culture and Tradition with Hacker Elementary Students

Carla Gover was excited to work for three Fridays: Feb. 8th, Feb. 15th, and Feb. 22nd from 8:00am until 2:00 pm with K-6students at Hacker Elementary to teach them about Appalachian culture and tradition.


Gover is an artist with the Berea College Promise Neighborhood Initiative. A Kentucky-native, singer, songwriter, and dancer, she travels the United States and takes pride in sharing her Appalachian culture with others. Gover has performed for literally thousands of elementary, middle and high school students worldwide. She credits her passion and knowledge to both her family and local communities in Clay and Letcher counties. “Every child here at Hacker (K-6th) was born in the Appalachian region, says Academic Specialist of Hacker Elementary Christy Napier.”

In order to tie in with Hacker Elementary core standards and program review curriculum, her objective was to help students look at some of the different cultures that came together to create the Appalachian culture and help students positively define what it means to be from KY.“I seek to be a voice speaking of the beauty and dignity of Appalachian culture in a world filled with stereotypes, half-truths, and outright lies about what it means to be from the region, says Gover.

Gover enjoyed her three-day adventure with the students because she loved teaching them about Appalachian culture through verbal stories, song, and dance. Ms. Grover sang traditional ballads and songs while playing the banjo or guitar, and explained the history of the instruments and the dances that were created with them.

The students happily got on their feet and participated in some engaging Appalachian dances that included: Appalachian clogging/Flatfooting, Cherokee Dance of the Four Directions, African-American Hamboning Rhythms, and the Traditional KY Square Dance.

Sixth grader Holly Couch said, “I really liked it. I learned what clogging is and a lot of new traditional songs and dances from KY. I really enjoyed her singing too.” During this event students learned a lot about their Appalachian culture and how important it is to keep their heritage alive. Clara Gover is coming back to work in two other schools in Clay County in the near future.