Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been visiting the region, and the purpose behind his visit became a little clearer today. After being spotted eating at Texas Roadhouse in Pikeville last night and attending a reception at the Blue Raven, also in Pikeville, later in the evening, Gates and his wife, Melinda, visited Betsy Layne High School today. A statement released by the Floyd County school district said Gates’ stop was a “learning visit” designed to see how students and teachers at Betsy Layne are reacting to various educational initiatives. The statement also noted that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation requested that the visit be kept secret until after his departure, explaining much of the difficulty the news media had in reporting the story. The Gateses left the school shortly after 2 o’clock this afternoon. Former Governor Paul Patton was one of the people who attended Tuesday night’s reception at the Blue Raven. He said the couple has a strong interest in the region’s education.
Betsy Layne principal Cassandra Akers described Bill and Melinda Gates as “very nice, down-to-earth” people who were very complimentary of the school and its students.