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Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus and Rock Cave Elementary School Principal Amanda Craig, at right, present Upshur Stars to fifth-grade students Wesley Smith and Harley Walton for helping around the school and showing great citizenship. Two other students in fifth-grade, Kayden Hawkins and Sahara Wood, were recognized but were not able to attend the Sept. 14 Upshur County Board of Education meeting.

Community-minded students stand out as Upshur Stars; next forum on proposed new CTE high school slated for Sept. 28

BUCKHANNON – Upshur Stars lit up the gymnasium at Rock Cave Elementary School during the Sept. 14 Upshur County Board of Education meeting.

Director of Wellness and Child Nutrition Eddie Vincent introduced Kayla Yocum, technology systems/digital communication specialist for Upshur County Schools. Yocum typically gives out the Stars awards, but was on the receiving end last Tuesday. She was awarded an Upshur Star for earning her certification as an Apple Certified Learning Specialist.

“This is a very difficult certification to earn and Mrs. Yocum and Mr. Quinten Oldaker, technology system specialist with Upshur County Schools, both received this certification,” Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said. “Thank you for doing all you did to become certified.”

“Thank you very much,” Yocum said. “I am usually only called to present, so this was a nice surprise.”

Kayla Yocum, technology systems/digital communication specialist for Upshur County Schools, receives congratulations and an Upshur Star from Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus during the Sept. 14 Upshur County Board of Education meeting for completing her certification as an Apple Certified Learning Specialist.

Yocum then introduced the Rock Cave Elementary School Principal Amanda Craig who presented some awards to students from her school. Craig said Rock Cave Elementary School has many outstanding, community-minded students.

“They are always eager to jump in and help and we see some great PAX behavior,” Craig said. “This evening, I wanted to recognize four fifth-graders, two of whom were able to join us.”

Wesley Smith and Harley Walton came forward to be recognized and received Upshur Stars from Craig, who said they had spent all of their elementary school education years at Rock Cave Elementary.

“This year, as fifth-graders, I asked them and they were readily accepting to assist with working around the school and helping with cleaning, which was not against any child labor laws,” Craig said. “They have been super helpers, and they are always ready to open up a door or help carry a package. Whenever they see an adult in the building who may need something, they are right there.”

Craig said the two other students who could not attend Tuesday’s meeting, Kayden Hawkins and Sahara Wood, had also helped out and would receive Upshur Stars.

“They have been a real asset all the time, but really exceptionally awesome this year,” Craig shared. “I just wanted to recognize them and have them be stars.”

Vincent said people forget the value of community service, adding, “They are good kids and good students who contribute to our school.”

“They show great citizenship,” Craig added.

Also, during the Sept. 14 BOE meeting, facilities director Tim Derico said his contact with architect Ted Shriver has been a beneficial learning experience.

“I think we have a really good working relationship as far as moving into working for the new high school,” Derico said. “We are fortunate that the forums are offering the public the opportunity to express ideas or concepts they have as to how the high school can pertain to their children.”

Derico said they are all excited about the project.

“We are hopeful we will continue down that path to success,” Derico said. “When the bond passes in January, that will only pick up speed and move quicker.”
Derico said at this juncture, there are no designs for the proposed new high school.

“The testing of the property [where the high school will be located] needs to identify the wetlands,” Derico said. “In the middle of the property the wetlands will likely be the centerpiece. We will make them as attractive as possible, whatever we have to do there.”

Oldaker and Yocum gave an update on the technology and said they had iPads to deliver to Upshur County Schools cooks and will offer training on using the devices.

“We have worked hard to achieve our Apple Coach Certification and we are really excited to offer some Apple Teacher Workshops throughout the year,” Yocum said. “This will support our teachers with programs to help them to gain foundational knowledge with using the MAC and iPad. I feel our district has readily responded to the shifts in technology, and we have prepared our teachers, staff and students to be able to implement technology. We want to take it a step further to allow them to incorporate creative lessons and use technology as a tool.”

Yocum said the trainings are optional, but she wanted them to know they are there to support them on their journey.

“They are self-paced, so they can do them on their own,” Oldaker reported. “It just helps to know we are here if they need a guiding hand to assist with this.”

Yocum said the technology department will again be sending the Tech Tip Newsletters to Upshur County Schools families.

“Those will kick off again beginning in October,” Yocum said.

The next Upshur County Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Hodgesville Elementary School. A public forum about the proposed new high school, renovated middle school and upcoming school bond election will be held at HES that night prior to the BOE meeting at 5 p.m.

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