BUCKHANNON – Monday’s Upshur County Board of Education featured a mix of in-person and online attendees, as new and returning board members took their oaths of office and a Buckhannon-Upshur High School Graduation Guru was recognized.
The school system paid tribute to Mr. Michael Wilson for his contributions to ensuring the 2020 commencement exercises were memorable for all B-UHS graduates.
Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy J. Samples along with Pat Long were elected to the Upshur County School Board during the June 9, 2020 primary election. Incumbent Samples received 3,563 votes and Long, a former BOE member, received 2,404 total votes.
Samples was sworn in and received her oath of office from Upshur County Magistrate Michael Coffman in person at Monday’s meeting, while Pat Long received his oath and was sworn in while attending the meeting virtually.
The next order of business during the BOE meeting was to select the president and vice president for the term of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022. Dr. Greenbrier Almond nominated Samples for the office of president and Pat Long seconded the motion. The vote for Samples to remain president of the Upshur County BOE for the next two years was unanimous by all BOE members.
Katie Loudin was nominated to fill the office of vice president again for the next two years by Dr. Greenbrier Almond and the motion received a second by Kristi Wilkerson. BOE members voted unanimously for Loudin to continue for another two years as the BOE vice president.
Three appointments for different capacities in the community were confirmed by BOE members, and each nomination was unanimously approved. Almond will continue to serve as a board member on the Fred Eberle Technical Center Administrative Council for two years, and Samples will serve two more years on the Stockert Youth Center & Community Center Board of Directors.
BOE members also unanimously approved former BOE member Alan Suder to continue serving on the Buckhannon Upshur Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. The Hall of Fame Committee had sent a letter to the BOE requesting that Suder continue his position on the Hall of Fame Committee for the next three years even though his term as a board member expired June 30.
In other business, Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the 2020 Buckhannon-Upshur High School Graduations were greatly successful, thanks to Wilson, whom they named ‘Graduation Guru.’
“Before you tonight, we have our own graduation guru,” Stankus said, while presenting Wilson with a banner and a sash.
Wilson was recognized as a stellar professional who has dedicated much of his time to the students of B-UHS. In a prepared statement, Wilson was said to ‘have served in many capacities, all centered on promoting the success of youth.’
“He has spent the past six years building meaningful relationships with the students and personnel at Buckhannon-Upshur High School where he serves as Student Council Advisor and Senior Class advisor,” according to the statement. “His past experiences, including serving as President of Professional Educators for Harrison County Schools, West Virginia Association of Student Councils Director, local director of the Miss America Pageant, head of Lincoln High School Math Department and much more have equipped him for his role at B-UHS. Upshur County Schools is honored to recognize him for his efforts and dedication.”
Wilson said that each year is a success.
“It leaves an opportunity for growth,” he remarked.
Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner presented Wilson with an official Seal of the City of Buckhannon pin.
“I hope you will wear this with pride,” Skinner said. “I was a student council president at B-UHS, so I thank you for what you do for them and the student government up there. Thank you very much for all you do.”
Skinner said it has been while since a mayor of Buckhannon has been a graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur.
“It’s great to be back,” Skinner said. “If there is anything that the city can assist the school system with, please do not hesitate to reach out. We thank you for what you do for the Blue and White.”
Wilson reminded those gathered that the graduation ceremonies were a team effort that involved the faculty, staff and county schools administrative office.
“Mr. Vincent has given me the opportunity to do what I do,” Wilson said. “He has let me take the rings and do what we have done. We had two graduations. We have a good group of kids in this area. We need to keep focused on what is best for everyone in our community. We are going to see great things ahead.”
Wilson said he watched the graduates grow from the time they were in ninth grade and said it was an honor to watch them walk across the stage.
“I prayed the rain away,” he said, laughing. “I want to thank you all. I just do what I do because it is for the kids.”
B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent put Wilson in charge of the graduation ceremonies because he enjoys coordinating events and is skilled at doing so.
“He was our March teacher of the month,” Vincent said. “He lives in Clarksburg, and he showed up every day with the pandemic and worked all the way through with it. Then, he started working on graduation and worked straight through to our second graduation, which was also successful.”
“This guy has worked harder than I have ever seen in the classroom and in our school,” Vincent added. “He is so creative, and he likes to do this kind of thing. Our students and their parents notice it, too. He was definitely the most popular guy at our student snake drive-thru because the kids recognize the hard work he does.”