Blythe makes career of sharing information

THOMAS DEAN STEWART | The Sun

Janett Blythe sits at her desk at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. As a marketing coordinator, her job is to provide information about WKCTC, something she has also done through three published books on the history of the school.

Janett Blythe is the director of marketing and communications at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, but there is much more to her than a job and a title.

Through her work, Blythe has a hand in several areas of promoting Paducah's community and technical college, including advertising and publications, and serves as a liaison with faculty and staff.

"I began at West Kentucky Technical College in November 1993," she said. "I was with the Mayfield Messenger for a short time in 1987, and then I was with The Paducah Sun from 1987 to 1993. I was the education writer and wrote columns as well."

Blythe earned her bachelor's degree in English from Randolph-Macon College and her master's degree in journalism communications from the University of Florida.

She authored three books about the history of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, dating to 1909. She also taught a marketing class at the college and four communications classes at Murray State University.

Blythe said she has always enjoyed telling stories and providing information to people, which has been a part of her career since 1987.

"Each one of those books that I wrote, they were all really good stories," she said. "You get the history of the technical college and even the history of (Paducah Community College) - just interesting stories. I just liked sharing those and researching it and getting all the information together.

"I always wanted to write a book. Being able to do that was wonderful, and my work career has been great as well. I'd like to write another book, something more personal. I'd like to do more nonfiction writing at some point, but it's really hard to do those kinds of things and have a full-time job at the same time."

What Blythe is most proud of is a WKCTC scholarship in the name of two brothers, Donald and Kevin Blythe. Donald died in 2000 at the age of 38, a hit-and-run victim, and Kevin died in 2011 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.

The scholarship provides WKCTC funding to African-American students or students in surgical technology. Donald Blythe was a surgical technician, while Kevin was an inspector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"This year, I raised $500 for the scholarship by asking people to donate during the week of my birthday," Blythe said.

Although Blythe was born in Mayfield, she has lived in several faraway places like Ankara, Turkey, where she graduated high school; Washington, D.C.; Truro, Massachusetts; and a number of cities in Florida.

"My dad, Henry L. Blythe, was in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked in communications," she said. "After he retired from the military, he was postmaster in Boaz for several years, but he is retired now. My mom, Nadine Blythe, cleaned houses and took care of myself and my siblings. Both parents, thankfully, are still living.

"Neither of my parents went to college, but both worked hard to make sure my siblings and I understood the importance of education and took advantage of every opportunity we had to learn something and to better ourselves. I'm thankful for having such excellent role models as my parents."