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Craig Presar, 4-H Youth Development Agent, and Tasha Harris, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, address the BOE, giving an update on the program in Upshur County.

Upshur BOE votes to continue funding WVU Extension Service programs for 2020-2021

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Board of Education members voted unanimously on Tuesday to continue to provide funding to the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service for the 2020-2021 year.

Craig Presar, 4-H Youth Development Agent, and Tasha Harris, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, addressed the BOE and gave an update on the program in Upshur County. Presar said his job is to provide alternative and complementary educational opportunities for youth in the county.

“We have eight traditional clubs in the community, and we have approximately 150 kids in the program,” Presar said. “Shooting sports is our most successful program in the county where we have 130 kids in archery – we fully expect to be in the state championships in both middle and high school divisions this year.”

Presar said he just received notice of approval for an Energy Express location in Upshur County.

“We will be working at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School providing Energy Express this summer for 35 to 40 students, providing a summer feeding and reading program,” Presar said. “We are in the process of hiring folks and identifying mentors for the program.”

He said in April, they will be receiving training for a new program – “The Sky’s the Limit.”

“I will be trained so I can work with students in grades 3 through 5,” he said. “It is in conjunction with the NASA program. We will design models of flying technologies that help NASA collect aerial photographs. Basically, we will be working with drones and rockets that take photographs, and we are very excited for the program.”

Presar said the Teen Leaders in Upshur County is another impactful project.

“We are focusing on leadership,” he said. “What I am asking each of our members to do is take on some leadership position with a community service project. It’s not enough for them to just donate canned goods to a food drive – in order for them to complete the program, they need to take a leadership role and create an event or a program aimed at community service for the people of Upshur County.”

Harris said she has been working with a garden series for adults and has worked with about 70 people doing floral arranging.

“We were approved for a Walmart Foundation Grant for $2,000 which will reach kids with pop-up markets and education,” Harris said. “Our youth livestock has 60 members with 82 projects in 2019 and had sales of more than $82,000.”

Presar said they also offer adult education opportunities through the CEOS, where adults receive education and provide community service. He said CEOS provided just over 40,000 hours of community service in the prior year.

He also said he had to renew his Shooting Sports certification and had been telling others about the collaboration between the 4-H program and the school board in Upshur County and the collaboration between Shooting Sports and the National Archery in the Schools program.

“There wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t jealous of me,” he said, laughing. “We have a really great thing going on here in Upshur County thanks to your cooperation. We really are the envy of West Virginia and a good portion of the Eastern United States, and I thank you for that.”

In other business, BOE members took the following actions:

  • Voted to approve a memorandum of understanding with Community Care of West Virginia aimed at working with five to seven students dealing with addictions.
  • After an executive session lasting nearly two hours, BOE members voted unanimously to approve the personnel items presented by the superintendent.

The next Upshur County BOE meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

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