Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus awards stars to Wilson Harvey and Rosie Shackleford.

Local school system honors young storytellers, West Virginia ambassadors

TENNERTON – Storytellers, athletes and ambassadors were honored recently by Upshur County Schools.

Kayla Yocum, technology systems/digital communications specialist, introduced the students who participated in the Young Storytellers Camp. Yocum said ART26201 sponsored the camp, which focused on the traditional art of Appalachian storytelling.

Attendees of the Young Storytellers Camp receive their stars.

“Students were instructed by community members Doug Van Gundy, Jason Young and Jamie Froemel,” Yocum said. “Upshur County Schools was supportive in sponsoring this camp, and we are proud of our students for taking the opportunity to engage in this exciting experience.”

Yocum said those participating in the Young Storytellers Camp included Lila Wright, Ella McNeish, Hailey Butcher, Evan Linger, Jessie Sandberg, Lyryk Jefferson, Autumn Carpenter, Harlee Gillum, Addison Tenney and Avery (Tyler) Brown.

Lila Wright said each day began with improvisation games to get comfortable with one another.

“Throughout the day we did different activities, but the main focus was on Appalachian tales and the way they were told and how we could incorporate that into modern storytelling,” Lila said.

The next two Upshur Stars went to athletes Zach Calef-Boring and Cam Tenney – however, neither were present at the BOE meeting because they were both playing for American Legion baseball. Yocum said the athletes were All-State Baseball Players.

She noted that the students demonstrated excellence, perseverance and teamwork through their academic performances and in their sports. Due to their dedication, the West Virginia Sports Writer’s Association voted them as Class AAA All-Star Baseball Players.

The final Upshur Stars recognized during the recent Upshur County BOE meeting were counselor Wilson Harvey and the students who attended the West Virginia Ambassador Camp. Harvey said those attending the camp included Sammie Shay, Mary Ellen Adams and Rosie Shackleford.

“Ambassador’s Camp is run through the state Department of Art, Culture and History,” Harvey said. “Randall Reid-Smith is the organizer, and students throughout the state are invited to participate through a superintendent’s recommendation. Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus was an integral part of getting our students there.”

“We are very proud of what the participants did,” Harvey added. “It is very selective, and the students have the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government, learn about the Cultural Center and get to interact and learn through the Department of Corrections how they use drones and K-9s. There were so many enrichment opportunities.”

Rosie Shackleford said the students got to choose internships during the camp.

“I picked the First Lady internship,” she said. “We met with her assistant and got to see the third floor of the Governor’s mansion. We all made posters about what we did and we got to interact with kids from different schools, which was fun. It was all super fun and informative.”

Stankus said the counselors for the camp were hand-picked by Randall Reid-Smith, and Harvey was among those chosen.

“I am so proud of how you represent Upshur County,” Stankus said to Harvey and presented him with an Upshur Star as well. “We are proud of you both. Congratulations.”

The next Upshur County BOE regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

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