Shirley Merrill selected for PCHS Wall of Fame

"When asked about her contributions to the community, she replied, “I have counted it a privilege to have been able to enhance of the lives of the young people of Pendleton County and feel that anything I have done for a child has not been a waste of the precious time God has given me. The greatest purpose in my life is serving my fellowman and my Lord and Savior.”

Each year, a graduate of Pendleton County Memorial High School is awarded a spot on the school’s Wall of Fame. This year, one of the recipients is Shirley Merrill. A genuine individual that has contributed immensely to the quality of life in the local community. Performing arts education in Pendleton County and Shirley are now almost synonymous with each other.

Her story starts in northwestern Pendleton County, where she was born and raised in the Grassy Creek area on a farm where she, her parents and three siblings lived. Here they grew tobacco, corn, and raised dairy cattle. Her parents valued hard work and education. Recognizing these values her family held, Shirley put forth great effort to maintain an outstanding academic school record. After attending Butler Elementary and High School through her freshman year, she became one of the first students at Pendleton County Memorial High School as a sophomore in 1960. Upon graduating  in  1962,  she attended the esteemed and nationally recognized Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. Here she earned a Bachelor Degree in Music Education. She would later earn her Master of Arts Education in 1976 and Rank One in Arts Education in 1990 from Northern Kentucky University.

Her chapter with Pendleton County Schools began when she was hired by Richard Gulick, past Superintendent of Pendleton County Schools. Not only did this mark Merrill’s first teaching position, but she was the first Elementary Music Specialist at Northern Elementary School in Butler upon its opening.

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