Two of five Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School students who acted quickly during a medical emergency involving a B-UMS teacher are recognized during the Upshur County Board of Education meeting Tuesday. Bailey Hurst and Braydon Wayts receive an Upshur Star and praise for helping out during the incident. Not present at the BOE meeting were Jennah Boram, Johanna Reger and Jaxon Spratt who assisted in getting help for their teacher. Students received Upshur Stars from superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus B-UMS Principal Samantha Leput. / All photos courtesy Quinten Oldaker, Upshur County Schools

Students commended for responding quickly to a teacher’s medical emergency

BUCKHANNON – Recently, there was a medical emergency with a Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School teacher and during that incident, five B-UMS students stepped up quickly and took action.

Matthew Sisk, Upshur County School director of student safety and emergency preparedness, introduced the students who were present during the Upshur County Board of Education meeting held Tuesday at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. He said he thought it was important to recognize the students because they did something to help.

“Too often we tend to ignore that, and these are the students who actually did something to help,” Sisk said before recognizing Bailey Hurst and Braydon Wayts. “These students went and got help (during the incident). While others just sat there, they went to get help.”

Sisk said three other B-UMS students also helped out but were not present during the meeting to be recognized. They are Jennah Boram, Johanna Reger and Jaxon Spratt.

Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus congratulated Bailey and Braydon, thanked them for their help and presented them with Upshur Stars.

Upshur County Schools Art Teachers Sherri Butler and Virginia Faulkner Hicks had two students whose art has been on display at the Upshur County Board of Education Office for several years.

“The art on display there gets a lot of compliments,” Upshur County Schools Director of Wellness and Child Nutrition Eddie Vincent said.

Vincent introduced Katrina Tenney and Grace Queen and presented the students with their artwork which had been framed to be on display at the Central Office.

“We really enjoy framing this artwork for our students,” Stankus said before presenting the girls with Upshur Stars.

Vincent said the girls represent two of the many talented art students in Upshur County Schools.

Katrina Tenney and Grace Queen receive Upshur Stars from Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus for their artwork creations which have been on display at the Upshur County Schools Central Office for a few years.

Next, Vincent informed those gathered that it is National School Counselor Appreciation Week and said the BOE had invited the school counselors and social/emotional skills facilitators to come and be recognized.

“This is a very talented and skilled group of helpers,” Vincent said. “They have contributed many ways, especially this week with some serious situations in Lewis County where they were able to help out because they are part of our crisis team.”

Vincent introduced those present, which included Ashley Woody, Jennifer Arisman, Laura Lantz, Shauna Jones, Tanya Zickefoose and Wilson Harvey, as well as Debbie Shapiro and Mr. Ollie.

Stankus said Vincent said counselors are battle-tested.

“It is almost like a soldier going out into battle – it’s what you do every day,” she said. “Certainly, during the pandemic, we know that mental health has been a top priority for all that we have done in this county. We had to put all of that first before our students could learn. You were battle-tested. You were on the front lines of all that we did, and I just cannot thank you enough. You made the difference.”

Stankus presented the group with totes containing specially made Upshur Stars.

Jones said the group is appreciative of the recognition.

“What this plaque says is absolutely right,” Jones said. “We do this because we want to make a difference and we love our kids.”

Harvey said he appreciates the county’s support.

“When it comes to student mental health, it is such a critical juncture of education,” Harvey said. “I am so thankful for the colleagues that really do prop that up and serve our students every day.”

Stankus said, “If you see or if you know a counselor in your school, please take time to send them your love as it is National School Counselor Appreciation Week.”

Upshur County School Counselors and social/emotional helpers are recognized during the Tuesday regular meeting of the Upshur County Board of Education in celebration of National School Counselor Appreciation Week. Those receiving totes and special Upshur Stars from Stankus and BOE members include Ashley Woody, Jennifer Arisman, Laura Lantz, Shauna Jones, Tanya Zickefoose and Wilson Harvey, as well as Debbie Shapiro and Mr. Ollie.

Katie Pearson tapped as Student Representative to the Upshur County Board of Education

The final recipient of an Upshur Star is Upshur County BOE Student Representative Katie Pearson. Katie gave an update on Buckhannon-Upshur High School to BOE members and said was the senior class president this year. She said she is blessed to be able to interact with other students within the school.

“The majority of the senior have ‘senioritis,’ but we are pushing through,” Katie reported. “In my dual-credit math class we got our grades back today and the whole class passed with As and Bs, so that is pretty good.”

Buckhannon-Upshur High School Senior Class President Katie Pearson receives an Upshur Star during the Tuesday Upshur County Board of Education meeting from Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus. Katie is serving as a student representative of the Upshur County BOE and updated members of the current events happening at B-UHS.

Katie said the B-UHS winter sports are doing well.

“Our swimming team did outstanding at regionals. We had a lot of kids make all-region team. Our boys and girls basketball teams are doing incredible with the girls being seventh place. Our wrestling team, which I am a little bit partial, [is performing] great. We had a kid win the Brooke Classic which is a really hard feat. We had a couple Big 10 champs and a couple of runners-up, so they are getting ready to take on their region, which is the hardest region in the state.”

Katie said B-UHS is getting started with the winter pep rally.

“Student Council decided this year we are doing possibly three pep rallies because we normally just do one and recognize fall sports athletes, but that is not fair to other athletes who put in their time,” Katie said. “My goal for this year was to improve participation within our student body. We had a powderpuff rally with our fall pep rally.”

Another positive point Katie shared was the Class of 2022 has students getting into schools such as the University of Texas at Austin, Yale, Cornell and Duke University.

“You just don’t see these kinds of numbers all the time,” Katie said. “As a class and as a school we are doing well.”

Finally, Katie said the Class of 2022 recently received T-shirts for free.

“Thanks to our very generous sponsors from Performance Chevrolet, Paramount Construction and Safety and Sweet-a-Licious,” Katie said. “I want to give a big thank-you to them and thank you to Top Line Apparel for making the shirts.”

In an interview with Katie Tuesday evening prior to the beginning of the BOE, Katie said she is the daughter of Ron and Amy Pearson. She is the B-UHS Class of 2022 Senior Class President, the editor of the yearbook, President of the Youth Leadership Association.

“I get to see a bunch of different kids from different cliques,” Katie said. “They report what is going on to me and I can share that information with the board.”

Katie was a 2020 member of the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Program, which selects one sophomore from each high school in the state.

“Last year, I was the videographer for the high school wrestling team,” she said. “I also do club cheer.”

Katie said she feels the Upshur County School system is great because of its great board members and enthusiastic teachers.

“I have had really great teachers in high school, middle school and elementary school who have helped push me to where I want to be,” Katie said.

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