Ricky Skaggs Receives High School Diploma in Surprise Presentation

by Jim Casey

Ricky Skaggs has earned just about every award under the sun. Now he can add a high school diploma to his wall of fame.

Ricky has had one of the most distinguished careers in the history of country, bluegrass, and gospel music. The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (2018) and Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee (2018) has earned 15 Grammy Awards, nine ACM Awards, and eight CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year (1985).

In addition, Ricky has been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees, but he never earned his high school diploma. The Kentucky native would have graduated high school in 1971, but Ricky hit the tour trail with Ralph Stanley instead. Ricky played alongside his friend and fellow teen Keith Whitley in Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys bluegrass troupe throughout the 1970s.

The gifted guitar and mandolin player turned to country music as a solo artist in the 1980s. In 1982, Ricky joined the Grand Ole Opry and began topping the country charts.

Ricky Gets a Surprise

On June 1, 2020, Ricky’s alma mater, Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Kentucky, awarded him an honorary high school diploma in recognition of his lifetime of work. The surprise presentation happened as Ricky was participating in a virtual high school graduation ceremony for the Lawrence County High School 2020 graduating class.

“It was an amazing surprise and an answered prayer of my mom,” said Ricky Skaggs. “She wanted me to graduate before I went full-time with Ralph Stanley on the road. I was about as proud of that as anything I’ve been given.”

Ricky’s catalog of No. 1 hits on the country chart includes “Country Boy,” “Cajun Moon,” “Highway 40 Blues,” and more. Of course, Ricky returned to bluegrass music in the late 1990s with a string of award-winning albums. Moreover, Ricky was a 2020 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States government.