Rock Cave Elementary School students, staff and volunteers shined as they were named Upshur Stars during the Tuesday, Sept. 13 Upshur County Board of Education meeting. / Photos by Beth Christian Broschart

Rock Cave students and staff recognized by Upshur County Board of Education

ROCK CAVE – Rock Cave Elementary School students, staff and volunteers shined as they were named Upshur Stars during the Tuesday, Sept. 13 Upshur County Board of Education meeting.

Upshur County Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Harrison has continued with the Upshur Stars program and new faces were added to the ranks of those who go over and above to make Upshur County Schools the best they can be.

Brian Allman, principal of Rock Cave Elementary School, introduced an Upshur Star from each grade and their teacher. All of the Upshur Star Awards for students went to PAX leaders. He first introduced pre-K student Charlotte Davis who was nominated by pre-K teacher Jill Stemple.

Stemple said Charlotte has been following the PAX rules within the classroom and that she follows the PAX signal for quiet, walks quietly in the hallways, listens for instructions and is kind to others.

Next, Allman said kindergartener Caroline Arey was an Upshur Star. She was nominated by her first-grade teachers Samantha Gainer. Allman said Gainer nominated Caroline because she is a PAX leader that exudes all of the traits a PAX leader should have.

“She is kind, caring and on task all of the time,” Allman read. “She sets a wonderful example for all students in kindergarten.”

Wyatt Collins, a first-grade student, was the next Upshur Star nominee. The appointment was made by first-grade teacher Pam Hissam. Allman read that Wyatt is the first grade PAX leader for August.

“Wyatt always is prepared and ready to learn,” Allman read. “He is a good friend to others and he makes good choices.”

Second-grade teacher Shanah Carpenter nominated Jackson Marteney for an Upshur Star. In her nomination, Carpenter said Jackson is an awesome student and friend that shows all of the PAX leader characteristics.

“He is helpful, caring and hardworking,” Allman read. “Jackson’s favorite thing to do at school is writing. Jackson’s favorite thing to do at home is play Minecraft.”

Nicky Smith teaches third grade and she nominated Lawson Bickel as an Upshur Star. Allman read that Lawson was nominated because he is an absolute joy to have in class.

“From day one, Jackson exuded all the behaviors of a model student,” Allman read. “Not only does he listen, follow directions and always do his best academically, he also is a great help to me and other students. He never hesitates to help, even before he is asked. Lawson is an amazing student and it is never too early to recognize greatness. I cannot wait to see all he achieves this year.”

Ilias Lee, who is in fourth grade, was nominated for an Upshur Star by his teacher Sheila Reynolds. Reynolds said Ilias is a conscientious, hardworking and dedicated learner.

“Ilias is kind and is willing to help others in his class,” Allman read from the nomination. “He follows the PAX vision that we created together in class. He demonstrates self-control in class and takes ownership for his behaviors. I love how he shows excitement for learning. Ilias always brightens the classroom with his smiles and kind words. He is a pleasure to have in class. He leads by example. Way to go Ilias! I am so proud of you!”

Payden Lane was nominated by his fifth-grade teacher Alana Rennix who said she was truly honored to recommend Payden for an Upshur Star.

“Payden represents herself well as a devoted student that is committed to learning. She is a leader in our classroom and the entire school. Each day, I watch as Payden goes out of her way to help others from the smallest to the largest acts of service. She never asks for acknowledgement, but instead performs these deeds from the kindness of her own heart. I am constantly inspired by her hard work and dedication,” Allman read from the nomination. “Outside of the classroom, Payton is an athlete that plays soccer competitively.”

Allman read that Payden is a talented artist and that she helps with morning announcements.

Next, Allman introduced teachers who received Upshur Stars.

RCES third-grade teacher Nicky Smith was nominated by kindergarten teacher Samantha Gainer. Gainer said Smith is an extraordinary teacher.

“She takes the time and effort to build very strong and positive relationships with her students,” Allman read from the nomination. “Her students can attest to this because they come back to see her for years to come. She has made a huge impact on every student she has had in class. Not only does she make huge efforts to build relationships with her students, but she also does the same for her co-workers. She always displays a positive attitude and genuine happiness when she first walks in and that is contagious for both students and staff.”

Gainer said Smith is committed to her career and spends countless hours on her own preparing for teaching.

“I cannot wait for my son to have her as a teacher,” Gainer said.

Stemple nominated RCES art and physical education instructor Hannah Lively as an Upshur Star. Stemple said Lively, who was the Upshur County Favorite Teacher of the Year for The Record Delta.

“She always goes out of her way to help students and staff at RCES,” Allman read from the nomination. “She is the faculty senate president and is always willing to help set up the gym for special events at our school. We appreciate you!”

The final Upshur Stars named Tuesday were the members of the RCES Relay for Life Team. Members include Mrs. Stemple, Mrs. Carpenter and family, Mrs. Natasha Davis, Mrs. Ashley Arnold and students Kooper Arnold, Jaxon Arnold, Kaitlyn Davis, Caroline Davis and Charlotte Davis. Allman offered this team thanks from him and RCES.

“Congratulations to the Rock Cave Relay for Life team for participating in the annual event held July 16, 2022,” Allman said. “Our team was presented with the Rising Star award for raising more than $1,000. Our school won first place in the campsite competition with matching t-shirts, hats and an amazing display. We also placed first in total number of laps walked and Katelyn Davis tied for the walker with the most laps. Our team is looking forward to participating again next year.”

Finally, members of the Upshur County School Service Personnel were recognized with a proclamation by Governor Jim Justice which recognized the outstanding work the individuals do for the state of West Virginia, their communities and the students enrolled in West Virginia Schools.

West Virginia School Service Personnel Day is Sept. 23, 2022.

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