Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior Liberty Snyder shows some of her artwork during Tuesday's BOE meeting at FCES. Liberty scored a 4 on her Advanced Placement art test, which grants her college credit -- a hard feat to accomplish.

FRENCH CREEK – Those attending Tuesday’s Upshur County BOE meeting at French Creek Elementary were greeted by a trio of ‘spook’-tacular fall and Halloween decorations.

FCES first-grade teacher, Ms. Rena Zirkle, painted three hay bales as a jack o’ lantern, a Frankenstein and a spider. The hale bales were borrowed from Chris and Cassie Hamner, and folks passing by are invited to stop and take a picture with them.

FCES teacher Rena Zirkle transformed this hay bale into a freaky Frankenstein.

Members of the BOE and those attending the meeting watched a video that showcased all the good initiatives underway at FCES. Following the video, everyone was invited to tour the classrooms and share in a school favorite – pepperoni rolls.

A hay-bale-turned-pumpkin
This hay bale dressed up as a spider for Halloween, thanks to FCES teacher Rena Zirkle, who painted it.

The spotlight was on students and staff at FCES who help make the school shine bright.

Fifth-graders Henry Clark and Sylas Knight were recognized as Upshur Stars. The duo was selected to serve as morning door greeters as part of the school’s Bulldog Patrol. Upshur County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said the boys do a fantastic job in their positions.

French Creek Elementary School fifth-grade student Henry Clark is recognized as an Upshur Star for his part as morning door greeter along with fellow classmate Sylas Knight.

“We have had students, staff members and even parents commend them for a job well done,” Harrison said. “Henry and Sylas greet every person that walks through the door with a smile, a ‘good morning’ and they even tell them what is on the menu for breakfast. Having them at our door every morning is a pleasure.”

Five FCES staff members also received kudos. Those presented with Upshur Stars include Johnna Dunham, Amberly Stump, Rena Zirkle, Larry Lance and Debby Schoolcraft. Harrison introduced the recipients while Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus handed out the Upshur Stars Awards.

“Johnna Dunham, first-grade teacher, has participated in several professional development sessions on her own time,” Harrison said. “She goes above and beyond to ensure that she’s the best she can be for her students. Mrs. Dunham is our Faculty Senate Vice president and a member of our schoolwide PBIS team. She’s our ‘Whole Brain’ teaching guru at French Creek Elementary School.”

Next to be named an Upshur Star was Amberly Stump, who teaches third grade.

“Mrs. Stump is always more than willing to help teachers and students at FCES,” Harrison said. “She mentors new teachers, officially and unofficially. She builds wonderful relationships with students and makes sure they love school. Mrs. Stump is a member of our School Leadership Team.”

First-grade teacher Rena Zirkle was the next to be recognized as an Upshur Star.

“Ms. Zirkle is amazing at building relationships and connecting with students,” Harrison said. “She looks for the best in every student. She works hard to ensure that all students are performing to the best of their ability. Ms. Zirkle is always willing to step up and help out when needed.”

Everyone was excited to have guidance counselor Larry Lance back at FCES. He was the next Upshur Star recipient.

“Mr. Lance is eager to help out anywhere he’s needed,” Harrison said. “He goes above and beyond to ensure that all of our students feel safe and included. Mr. Lance is a member of the school PBIS team and leads professional development on building relationships within classrooms.”

The final FCES employee recognized as an Upshur Star was aide Debra Schoolcraft.

“Mrs. Schoolcraft has really taken on our schoolwide garden-based learning,” Harrison said. “She has so much knowledge of gardening and is eager to share that with our educators and students. As you may know, she owns the restaurant at Holly River. For the last few years, she has prepared food for the FCES school carnival which has brought in thousands of dollars.”

Three Buckhannon-Upshur High School Students were also recognized during Tuesday’s meeting.

Harrison said seniors Mya Ramos and Morgan Goodman would like to see a little less talk and a little more political action. She said by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, the two had helped more than 80 of their peers get registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day.

Mya Ramos and Morgan Goodman are designated as Upshur Stars during Tuesday’s BOE meeting at French Creek Elementary School. They registered approximately 85 of their peers to vote during National Voter Registration Day at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, assisted by Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith.

“Mya and Morgan, with the assistance of Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith, were stationed in the library for most of the school day, helping their classmates register to vote for the first time or update their voter registration,” Harrison said.

The final recognition went to Upshur Star Liberty Snyder.

“Liberty scored a ‘4’ on her advanced placement art test which grants her college credit,” Harrison said. “The advanced placement test is extremely challenging and difficult to score high enough to gain college credit. She has been recognized in several venues for her exceptional art talents. Congratulations and well done!”

Liberty said her favorite medium to work with is pen and ink. She is the daughter of Terri Cogar and David Snyder and lives in Buckhannon.

Stay tuned to My Buckhannon to learn about happenings in the business portion of Tuesday’s BOE meeting.