BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School staff, students, parents and community members had lots to celebrate Tuesday evening as the Upshur County Board of Education recognized more Upshur Stars who help make students’ days bright.
B-UMS custodian Jim Stalnaker was recognized for going “over and beyond” every day. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said Stalnaker routinely wipes down lockers, repairs broken items, builds bookshelves and stands for teachers, interacts with students and always wears a smile.
“Anything that is asked of him, he does at his earliest convenience,” she shared. “Every Valentine’s Day he leaves a rose in a vase for every female employee that has a classroom in his area. He is a true asset to B-UMS – one who does not work for recognition or praise, but because he truly wants to better our school.”
Next, the spotlight fell on Office B and the work of Maria Eddy. She was recognized as an Upshur Star because she has many responsibilities and deals with difficult situations and lots of upset individuals in a “kind, patient and pleasant manner.”
Counselor Tanya Zickefoose was declared an “absolute rock star.” Harrison said Zickefoose goes out of her way to make sure students, parents and faculty members are happy and successful.
“She is a great counselor that uses theory-driven practices and is knowledgeable in many different types of counseling. It is difficult to think of one specific event where she excelled because she excels at her job every day and never takes the easy way out and is proactive with prioritizing tasks she needs to get done,” Harrison said.
Longtime tech education instructor J.J. Ford received an Upshur Star for helping create trail signs for mountain biking residents of Upshur County.
“He spends many hours before and after school preparing meaningful tech education lessons and continues to make tech education better by writing grants and making meaningful businesses relationships to ensure that he has the most up-to-date materials for his students,” Harrison said.
Head cook Tammy Kelley could not attend Tuesday’s meeting; however, she was recognized for the outstanding job she does.
“She provides not only guidance in the kitchen and cafeteria to her co-workers but is also responsible for many aspects of a great food program at B-UMS,” Harrison said. “Tammy is a valuable asset to our school, does her job with energy and a positive outlook, and we are happy to recognize her with an Upshur Star Award.”
Leading Lifeguard for the new ICU program at B-UMS Stacy Marteney was recognized for her efforts to go above and beyond her duties. Harrison said Marteney organizes the ICU blitzes, has set up the database, conducts surveys to keep valuable information updated and is the key liaison between B-UMS and Danny Hill, the ICU program founder.
B-UMS reading teacher Johnette Radabaugh was recognized as an Upshur Star. Harrison said Radabaugh has challenged and encouraged her students to expand their reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
“She frequently has guest speakers who provide supplemental information on a story or book that she is covering in her class,” Harrison said. “She has also been a great idea person in our discussions about electives for our classes for the 2021 school year.”
The final B-UMS staff person recognized was Sharon Walton, who is the school’s band instructor.
“Sharon is a great music person and provides us with wonderful music at all of our assemblies,” Harrison said. “She has a terrific special connection with her students, which is proven in the great music our bands give us. She has never hesitated to jump right in and assist with our assemblies, and she is also an ICU Lifeguard and does a lot in that program to help our students. The fall concert was truly awesome – the gym was packed.”
Upshur County community members were the next to receive Upshur Stars. Russ Warner, volunteer coach for the Archery and Air Rifle teams in Upshur County, was recognized for working tirelessly with middle and high school students to sharpen their skills.
Warner told those at the BOE meeting that an official announcement won’t be made until Feb. 15, but the high school air rifle team had just placed first in the state.
“We have been doing this for 10 years, and this is the first that we got first place in the state,” Warner said. “Our high school archery team and our middle school archery team right now are both ranked number one in the state.”
Warner said this is not something he does alone.
“I started this 14 years ago and put a lot of time into it,” he said. “We have a lot of community members and a lot of parents involved in this. We touch about 2,500 to 3,000 lives a year just in this county – we started with just 28.”
He said Buckhannon Toyota took over funding this year and has donated $10,000 to the program, while the Board of Education pays for their transportation.
“We raise more than $40,000 a year and that allows us to grow the program. We are purchasing two sets of equipment to take to school and 4-H Camps,” Warner said. “We are the largest Shooting Sports program in schools related to the 4-H program in the nation. That is something for not only me to be proud of, but the community to be proud of, the schools to be proud of.”
During this school year, Warner said Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus worked to get each of the elementary school physical education instructors certified.
“My job is to keep this program growing,” he said. “It will be someone else’s job to keep it going after I finish up.”
Jennifer Kimble, parent volunteer, received an Upshur Star and kudos for her efforts to clean out and organize the B-UMS trophy case in the hallway near the main offices. Officials say the case now looks “spectacular” and expressed their thanks.
Kimble’s next project? Cleaning and organizing the multiple trophy cases in the B-UMS gymnasium.
Harrison said the next Upshur Star recipients Mike and Pam Wilson were described as community members who truly care about the students. Harrison said Mike Wilson donates his time and talent about three times a week to work with advanced and intermediate band students and jazz band students.
Vickie Sharp, Alicia Costello and Charlie also received Upshur Stars for their work in keeping the food pantry stocked. Harrison said the trio travels to get the best deals for the kids, and everyone appreciates their hard work.
Finally, Upshur County students received Upshur Stars for their hard work during the year. Harrison introduced Upshur Star Alyana Spotloe, a sixth-grader at B-UMS, who has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and is an active member of the Union Mission and Cutright Chapel where she sings with her sisters.
“Alyana played as a sixth-grader on the B-UMS girls soccer team and plans to try out for the lacrosse team,” Harrison said. “She enjoys singing, soccer, cooking and reading and is an exceptional role model for other students at B-UMS.”
Another sixth-grade B-UMS student received an Upshur Star for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. Dawson Tenney played on the B-U Midgets Football team and the B-U Boys Basketball team. He is a member of the BFC Crossfit and enjoys working out with his family. He takes advanced math, enjoys swimming and riding on his side by side.
“Dawson is a great student and works very hard to achieve his goals,” Harrison said. “We are lucky to have him at B-UMS.”
B-UMS eighth-grade student Aubree Bozic received an Upshur Star. Harrison said she has been in band for three years and jazz band for the last two years.
“She is a wonderful musician who faithfully practices her flute, bass and piano,” Harrison said. “She is always willing to help where needed and puts the good of the group before her own desires. She encourages other students to do their best and sets a positive role model for all of the students at B-UMS.”
Anna Grace Lantz, an eighth-grade student at B-UMS has been in band for three years and Jazz Band for two years. Harrison said she received an Upshur Star because she has been so willing to work on whatever instrument she is needed on most for the good of the group.
“Last year, she changed from an alto to a tenor saxophone and has done extremely well. She also willingly filled an open hole in the saxophone section in Jazz Band when another student moved away,” Harrison said. “In addition to her musical talents, she is on the basketball team and always has a smile on her face for the staff and students at B-UMS.”
Jonathan DiGiulian nominated Lillian Fetty and Maddie Long for their Upshur Star Awards. DiGiulian said the duo were students in his orchestra class.
“These two young women will be representing B-UMS at the West Virginia All State Orchestra in March,” DiGiulian wrote. “They are both talented musicians but more importantly, they are both hard workers. They are surely tow of the brightest students at B-UMS and they will make us proud.”
Lillian and Maddie performed a musical piece for those gathered at Tuesday’s BOE meeting.
An Upshur Star was presented to Mia Bozic who was described as “a wonderful young lady.” Harrison said Mia is caring, polite, kind, hardworking and a pleasure to have in class.
“Mia finished the sixth-grade computer part of the math program and immediately jumped in to help other students who were struggling,” Harrison said. “Mia comes to school every day with a smile on her face, ready to help make B-U Middle School a better place to learn, grow and explore. Our school and our world need more people like Mia.”
Although Cody Trainer could not be at Tuesday’s BOE meeting, he was recognized as an outstanding young man and will receive an Upshur Star. Harrison said he is kind, polite, trustworthy and responsible.
“Cody is always willing to help anyone who asks for his assistance,” Harrison said about Cody. “He is a student who really wants to learn and strives to make good grades – but he understands that knowledge is really the important part. Cody comes to school every day committed to doing his best and making the school a better place for everyone.”
B-UMS Students recognized for consistently showing good behavior, respect and a thirst for knowledge in seventh-grade social studies who received Upshur Stars are Machara Wallace, Daniel Hedrick, Remington Bonnett, Colton Wendling, Janis Childers and Colin Alderman.
Finally, Upshur Stars went to the top places in the Tennerton Lions Club Peace Poster Contest. The contest is international and open to middle school students throughout the world. This year’s theme was a “Journey of Peace,” and students were encouraged to create a poster illustrating peace within communities, the U.S. and the world. Diversity and empathy for people of different religions, cultures and languages was encouraged.
Twenty students from Virginia Hicks’ art club participated and the top winners include first place, Emily Russell and Candace Lundsford; and second place, Aubree Bozic and Lillian Willits.