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Dr. Debra Harrison, at left, and Dr. Sara Stankus, at right, honor Glenn and JoAnn Hawkins with Upshur Star awards Wednesday at SUBA's monthly meeting.

Stankus invites SUBA members to Sept. 9 school facilities plan forum

ROCK CAVE – Wednesday’s Southern Upshur Business Association meeting kicked off with superintendent of Upshur County Schools honoring two longtime SUBA members – Glenn and JoAnn Hawkins.

Prior to discussing the future of Upshur County Schools, Stankus started her presentation by awarding SUBA president Glenn Hawkins and his wife, JoAnn Hawkins, the Upshur Stars Award for their service to the county.

“When I see these two people so actively involved, it makes me think, ‘Wow, I hope that I’m still doing what they do when I’m older, just because they love it not because they have to,” Stankus said.

Stankus said they usually give the Upshur Stars awards at the Board of Education meetings, but she was coming to SUBA and wanted to express her gratitude for everything they have done.

“I will tell you what you do for our community, and for this community on the southern end of Upshur County, it trickles into all of Upshur County, not just the southern end,” Stankus said. “I just want to say thank you for everything that you do, and you’re an Upshur Star.”

After presenting the awards, Stankus discussed the county’s 10 year-plan Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan.

“We had a 10-year plan that talks about what we’re going to do with schools, and now – think 10 years from now – what do you want our schools and our community to look like?” Stankus said. “What does education look like in 10 years from now? What do we want for our county? What we what do we want for our students?”

Dr. Sara Stankus was the featured speaker at SUBA’s meeting Wednesday.

One of the subjects she said has come up is the idea of building a new middle school.

“People say, ‘Well, Sarah, when are you going to build a new middle school?’ and I am just a servant of the people in this community,” Stankus said. “That’s truly the way I see this role and when the community wants a new school, that’s what we’ll do and not before.”

She said the newest school in Upshur County is Union Elementary School and that was built in 1988 and she’s heard numerous suggestions about a new school. She said some people have suggested the current high school could become the middle school and a new comprehensive high school could be built that focuses on career and technical training skills programs.

Part of the 10-year plan includes thinking about programs that will benefit Upshur County students by thinking of the future job market and their higher education, the superintendent said.

“We’ve met with most of the college presidents around our area and Dr. Harrison has asked them for free classes for our students,” Stankus said. “We will have graduates this year – high school students –
who will graduate with an associate’s degree from Glenville.”

She said they are also looking to add more technical programs to the high school as well.

“One of our teachers, Sloan Baisden, went to Alabama this year, this past summer for two weeks and trained in aeronautics,” Stankus said. “He is going to be teaching that program right in our high school and we’re working right now with the State Department that we’re going to have a flight simulator, right in our high school and a pilot program.”

Assistant Superintendent for Upshur County Schools Dr. Debra Harrison said it is important to educate students for the future.

“One of the things that we talked about a great deal is, as we look at what this community needs to meet educationally, we have to think to the future,” Harrison said. “We can’t think where we are at this point in time because we’re not educating kids to do the jobs of today, we need to be preparing our kids to go out into the world and be able to do the jobs that are available then and that means we all have to think differently about what an educational system is.”

Stankus and Harrison said they invite the community to voice their opinion on the new Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at the West Virginia Wesleyan’s Performing Arts Center.

“Looking at this Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan, we can really make this what we want it to be, but we need your input,” Harrison said.

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