HODGESVILLE – During the Sept. 27 Upshur County Board of Education meeting, Hodgesville Elementary School Principal Shannon Lewis introduced her staff and each person in attendance received an Upshur Star.
Upshur Stars are awards that celebrate and acknowledge students, teachers, staff members and volunteers for going over and above to make Upshur County Schools great for everyone.
Lewis said this is her first year as principal at Hodgesville Elementary School, so she wanted to recognize her entire staff.
“Everyone at Hodgesville chips in and we really, truly are a family,” Lewis said. “All of our staff helps everybody and everyone with anything that is needed and they are a great group of people.”
Lewis introduced Hodgesville staff members including Kim Lattea, Communities in School Coordinator; Terry Karickhoff, Pre-K aide; Torrie Norman, first-grade teacher; Tyler Davis, music teacher; Kayla Belt, special education teacher; and Elizabeth Anderson, fourth-grade teacher.
Staff members are pictured with Upshur County Board of Education President Dr. Tammy Samples, BOE Vice President Jan Craig, BOE members Roy Wager and Sherry Dean and HES Principal Shannon Lewis.
Next, Lewis recognized the members of the HES Choir under the direction of Tyler Davis. Choir members performed ‘God Bless the USA.’ Lewis introduced choir members including Haylee Heath, Torrie Thompson, Alyssa Mayle, Mariska Ware, Belia Cooper, Gemma Casella, Emily Cutright, Lorelai Browning, Kinbree Baun, Dalton Currence, Triston Russell, Anders Lane, Kimber Sams, Aubrey Shaffer, Satori Klema and Kylie Wright.
Soloists performing during the song included Gemma Casella, Mariska Ware and Emily Cutright.
“The students have worked really hard to prepare this song,” Lewis said.
Finally, Upshur Stars were presented to Don Nestor, president and founding member of the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, book author Mary Alice Poling and book author Jess Scott.
Upshur County School Director of Wellness and Child Nutrition Eddie Vincent said that Nestor does a lot for Upshur County Schools.
“He and the Foundation help Upshur County students with everything from back packs to other things,” Vincent said.
Nestor said the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County strives to fund projects for Upshur County Schools.
“It is our pleasure tonight to announce we have purchased books – five copies of each book – for each elementary school in the county,” Nestor announced. “We have our two authors with us tonight.”
Jess Scott, who is an associate professor of gender studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College, said she wrote ‘Miss Penelope Thundertoes Changes Her Mind,’ one of the books which will be in each elementary school.
“I have pet pigs, and this is a story on the surface level about pigs,” Scott shared. “The story is also about family. Miss Penelope, herself, is adopted by her person and her person adopts another pig. At first, Miss Penelope Thundertoes does not like that. But she grows to love her sibling. It is about building family relationships and how people can get along and live in communities.”
Scott said she has enjoyed being invited into several classrooms to share the book with students.
“I love seeing the children’s reaction to the book,” Scott said. “Kids in West Virginia know how to make pig noises.”
Mary Alice Poling is the mother of Seth Poling, a Buckhannon-Upshur High School graduate and former B-UHS football quarterback, who was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig disease in 2017. She said she wrote ‘My Daddy Has ALS’ to let others know a little bit about what that is like.
“My son has ALS and we wrote this book,” Poling said. “My son and I talked about sending the book in boxes we send to people who have ALS. We wanted to share how my son and his boys relate to each other. Even though you have ALS, you can still do things, but in a different way from everyone else. It has pictures of my son and his boys playing things in different ways.”