TENNERTON – The Upshur County Board of Education recognized students, teachers and community volunteers that are ‘out of this world’ Tuesday evening during their regular meeting at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
The first shining Upshur Stars introduced were four B-UHS students.
Alexandria Black wrote a poem following the death of classmate Jenna Davis that she read at the school for students who were unable to attend the funeral services. She also read the poem honoring Jenna before the school’s varsity games.
According to her teachers, she showed great leadership and understanding of the needs of her school community.
B-UHS social studies instructor Brent Kimble welcomed the BOE and said he had the pleasure of recognizing some of the school’s best kids.
H. Randall Roy, assistant principal of B-UHS, introduced Alex Black as the first Upshur Star.
“One of the jobs of being involved in education is watching kids grow up,” Roy said. “All of the kids grow as they are here, but Alex has transformed. She has blossomed. She is a lovely young woman, and she is so kind and considerate.”
Roy said Alex asked to say a few words when one of her classmates passed away.
“At the time when the community was downtown at the funeral, she came to me and asked if she could get on the PA and say a few words for the students who were still here. She did so again at the football game when they brought both teams to the center of the field, and it’s just a testament to the kind of young lady she is and the kind of young lady we are proud to have here at Buckhannon-Upshur High School,” Roy said.
Kimble introduced Jessica Lane as the second student named as an Upshur Star. He said Jessica was recently selected as the B-UHS Homecoming Queen.
“But the bigger issue for me is she is the president of the Youth Leadership Association,” Kimble said. “The YLA here at the high school is the largest club with 117 members and right now, we are preparing for our trip to Charleston where we will be taking 100 students to Youth in Government. I couldn’t do my job without good leadership from my students like Jessica Lane.”
The next Upshur Star to be recognized was Caitlyn Wendling, student body president, state student council officer and the student instrumental in getting WVU president Dr. E. Gordon Gee to visit B-UHS.
“Caitlyn has served in a tremendous capacity as our student body president this year,” Kimble said. “She is also a YLA Officer, was on the Homecoming Court and recently, she just sustained her state office as a student council representative. Caitlyn makes student council go.”
“Most recently, she was accepted to West Virginia University yesterday, which was announced during Dr. E. Gordon Gee’s visit to B-UHS,” Kimble added. “She led the charge in getting Dr. Gee here so our juniors and seniors could experience that.”
The last B-UHS student recognized as an Upshur Star was Emma Reger. Kimble said Emma, who is a senior, has had tremendous AP success.
“Emma is by far one of our best products of AP classes,” Kimble said. “She was also selected to represent Upshur County Schools at the Governor’s Honors Academy where she got to be with the best of the best. Here in Upshur County, she is one of the best of the best. We can’t say enough great things about the student and the person that Miss Emma Reger is.”
The next Upshur Star Awards were presented to teachers at B-UHS. First recognized was Angie Westfall, librarian/media specialist at the school. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison introduced Westfall.
“Angie is always behind the scenes in the library and is devoted to promoting learning, exploration, creativity, reading and teacher awareness,” Harrison said. “Angie is constantly assisting teachers in finding activities for their students. She also engages students in projects of cooperation and leadership. B-UHS truly has a learning center due to the work and innovations of Angie.”
Next, Cheryl Cain, English teacher at B-UHS, was recognized as an Upshur Star. Harrison said Cain is an incredibly hard worker who goes the extra mile to help her students and Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
“She has devoted a great deal of time developing and organizing the Military Club at B-UHS,” Harrison said. “She has also been instrumental in our Alumni Wall. Mrs. Cain works on grants and tries to help her school community in any way that she can. She is currently planning and managing the B-UHS Veteran’s Day activities. Great thanks to Mrs. Cain.”
Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus recognized two community members for their donation of clothing to Upshur County recently. Neither could make it to the BOE meeting. Vanessa Perkins’ bio said she is a native of Buckhannon who joined the military at age 17 and during her years in the Army secured a business degree. Perkins served one combat tour in Iraq and said aside from being a mother, her time in the military has brought her the most joy and honor.
She has been involved in numerous community organizations.
Most recently, Perkins was involved in an Upshur County BOE partnership with the Mountaineer Food Bank. Through this partnership, she helped get support for the 1,500 backpacks distributed monthly through the backpack program, the monthly Drive Thru Pantry program, where approximately 30 thousand pounds of food was distributed to 600 families and most recently, the new clothing giveaway.
Next to be honored was Kenna Leonard, a West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate. Leonard, who is a nurse, has worked for four years in the pediatric intensive care unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital and two years at Akron Children’s Hospital.
The bio for Leonard said she and Perkins ran the B-UMS backpack program and helped draw attention to the hunger problems in Upshur County children. It says they helped implement the afterschool snack program at B-UMS and this year, they aided in the partnership between the Mountaineer Food Bank, Upshur County schools and various community volunteers who provide food for the Upshur County citizens most in need.
Through these partnerships, the county received a clothes donation that they sorted and helped organize and distribute. Harrison said the clothing donation allowed the schools to distribute top-quality clothes among elementary and middle school students.
“We can’t say enough to express the gratitude we feel,” Harrison said. “The impact of the donation of that brand-new clothing impacted our students, and we want to thank everyone and recognize those individuals.”
Harrison introduced Brenda Thompson, Sister Katelynn Glines, Sister Chayce Weiman, Elder Durham Hendricks and Elder Bracken Beutler.
“Thank you all for your help,” Harrison said. “I don’t know if we ever had a contribution like that, especially one that meant so much to our kids.”
Stankus said the weight of the contribution of brand-new clothing was 70,000 pounds, and the folks recognized took the clothing into their church, separated the clothing by sizes and managed the entire community as they came in to receive the clothes.
“I want to say thank you so much to this group,” Stankus said.
Jodie Akers, director of Student Services, introduced the final Upshur Star recipient, PRO Officer Corporal Rocky Hebb. Akers said Hebb promotes a positive law enforcement presence in all Upshur County Schools.
“He is a hard-working, multi-tasking officer and he takes his job to heart,” Akers said. “He makes sure that all of the students have what they need, and he always offers assistance in any way he can help. Rocky always goes over and above with his duties. You are always there when we need you to do a home visit, meet with a student, attend a sporting event, take a training, attend a staff meeting or do a training for us.”
Akers said they were simply unable to thank Hebb for all he does for the Upshur County school system.
Visit My Buckhannon often to keep up to date on all the happenings and news across Buckhannon and the Upshur County area, including information about the business portion of the Upshur County BOE meeting.
Information will include a report by Prevention Resource Officer Corporal Rocky Hebb, an update by the ICU team at B-UHS and information on the first reading of a proposed revision to Policy 4003-the attendance policy and how individuals in the area can weigh in with comments on that proposed policy revision.