Hodgesville Elementary School third-grade teacher Marlena Reed accepts an Upshur Star for being a stellar teacher and colleague.

Upshur Schools’ constellation of ‘Stars’ include teachers, air rifle team and Virtual Enterprise participants

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Board of Education continued its tradition of recognizing students, teachers, school personnel and community members who shine bright as Upshur Stars during their Tuesday meeting at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

BOE members also recognized Russ Warner and members of the Buckhannon-Upshur 4-H Air Rifle Team and Sarah Wamsley and members of the Virtual Enterprise Team.

Warner, Dave Riffle and Craig Presar received an Upshur Star, along with members of the Upshur County Air Rifle Team during the meeting.

Warner said the middle school team placed third in the state and the high school team placed first.

“Air rifle teams are comprised of three shooters, and those three shooters’ scores are totaled for a team,” Warner said. “We had two teams in high school and two teams in middle school – our middle school team placed third out of 14 teams in the state, and our second team in high school placed fourth out of 18. Our kids have gotten so good in our program over the last 10 years it is the teams in the state’s goal to beat Buckhannon.”

Members of the Buckhannon-Upshur County 4-H Air Rifle Team and coaches are recognized during Tuesday’s BOE meeting. The middle school team placed third and the high school team placed first in the state. Coaches include Russ Warner, Dave Riffle and Craig Presar and students recognized include Samantha Sparks, Ryleigh Jeffries, Leah Bennett, Dana Hovis, Breanna Morgan, Sam Canter, Ryan Bosley, Olivia Caynor and Clint Crites.

Warner said over the next three or four years, community members will continue to hear about the achievements of the youth because he believes their program is the best in the state. He then introduced members of the Air Rifle Team including Samantha Sparks, Ryleigh Jeffries and Leah Bennett from the middle school team and the high school team including Dana Hovis, Breanna Morgan and Sam Canter, who placed fourth in the state.

High school members who placed first in the state were Ryan Bosley, Olivia Caynor and Clint Crites.

“Four kids from each state are selected to advance to the Nationals in Nebraska in June,” Warner said. “Caynor is one of the four individuals in the state who will be doing that and representing the Buckhannon-Upshur 4-H Air Rifle Club.”

Sarah Wamsley, from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, said she was sent to a pilot program over the summer called Virtual Enterprises.

Virtual Enterprise students recognized as Upshur Stars include instructor Sarah Wamsley, and students Bryson Bastida, Caleb Sikarskie, Brian Ice and Cameron Zuliani. Students will compete against 4,000 others from 13 countries as they present the business they created.

“I believe there are 26 or 27 states participating in the program,” Wamsley said. “We are one out of seven in the state of West Virginia to lead the pilot program.”

Wamsley said basically, the students start up a business from scratch; they come up with a product idea and subsequently sell those products to other students that are taking VE classes across the U.S.

“They send out mail, email and fliers and simulate their own economy,” Wamsley explained. “These students will be traveling to New York in April, representing Upshur County. The only other West Virginia group going is from Mingo County.”

She said they will be competing with 4,000 students while in New York, from 13 different countries.

Four VE students gave a presentation of their products including Bryson Bastida, a ninth-grade B-UHS student who is working in accounts receivable in the VE program; Caleb Sikarskie, an 11th-grade B-UHS student who is the marketing manager in the VE program; Brian Ice, a B-UHS senior who is the VE program CEO; and Cameron Zuliani, a 10th-grade B-UHS student who is the VE program design manager.

Appalachian Business Appliances is the name of the business created by the VE team.

Following recognition of the VE team, BOE members recognized the newest Upshur Stars. Teachers designated as Upshur Stars include Bridgette Tenney, Marlena Reed and Terry Karickhoff.

Special Education teacher at B-UHS Bridgette Tenney is recognized as an Upshur Star during Tuesday’s BOE meeting for using technology daily to enhance student achievement.

Tenney is a special education instructor at B-UHS and received an Upshur Star for using technology daily to enhance student achievement. Harrison said Tenney is never afraid to try new things in her classroom.

“She is using Google classroom daily, has a class pet that helps students learn and interact, and she has flexible seating in her room to make students comfortable,” Harrison said. “She always goes above and beyond for her students and loves teaching.”

Reed teaches third grade at Hodgesville Elementary School and was nominated as an Upshur Star because she is both an “awesome teacher and colleague.”

“She knows her students and does all possible to help them become productive students and active learners,” Harrison said of Reed. “She is the ‘go-to’ for our new teachers because of her experiences through the years. Reed engages her students, whether it be in reading or science. In the spring, her classroom has crawdads as a ‘pet,’ and students get to experience the responsibilities of being a zoologist. She is a great asset to Hodgesville Elementary School.”

Finally, Harrison recognized Karickhoff as an Upshur Star. She said this is the third time Karickhoff has returned to Hodgesville Elementary School as a pre-K aide.

Terry Karickhoff is recognized as an Upshur Star for coming back to Hodgesville Elementary School for the third time to serve as a pre-K aide.

“We are so excited she is back,” Harrison said. “She genuinely loves the students and is willing to do whatever it takes to help them grow and learn. She loves each and every pre-K student and her fun and caring demeanor makes them very comfortable with her. She always has great ideas on how to make our students the best they can be.”

Bright Upshur Star students recognized during the BOE meeting included Jacob White, Paityn Ward, Domenick Castillo and Haley Butcher.

Harrison said Jacob is a third-grader who is always polite and responsible.

Jacob White receives kudos and an Upshur Star for being a third-grade student who is always polite and responsible.

“Jacob can be depended on to always do what is right and to be a hard worker,” Harrison said. “If anyone needs help – peer or teacher – Jacob is the first to volunteer. He is also known for his farming skills, especially for growing strawberries. Last year, he grew the most delicious strawberries ever and even sold some – if he didn’t eat them first.”

Next, Harrison recognized Hodgesville Elementary School pre-K student Paityn. She said Paityn greets everyone at the school with a smile.

“She tells us daily that she loves us and that she missed us if she hasn’t seen us for a few days,” Harrison said. “She is definitely a PAX leader and when talking about spleems (an element of the Good Behavior Game) early in the year, she has great examples and even makes sure spleems don’t occur around her. Thank you for being a bright spot every day.”

Domenick was the next student recognized as an Upshur Star. He is in sixth grade at B-UMS and was described as a conscientious student. Harrison said Domenick makes sure all his work is completed in an impeccable manner.

B-UMS sixth-grade student Domenick Castillo is honored with an Upshur Star Tuesday during the Upshur County BOE meeting for being a very conscientious student who completes his work and excels at playing the French horn.

“He has excelled in band this year where he plays the French horn,” Harrison said. “In December he participated in the school spelling bee and earned the right to compete in the county spelling bee. He studied every day with different teachers to prepare. His teachers are very proud of the effort he puts forth in and out of the classroom daily.”

Haley was the final student to receive the honor of being named an Upshur Star. Harrison said Haley is a Hodgesville Elementary School alumnus and is currently a student at B-UHS.

“Throughout her elementary years, Haley shared her amazing artistic abilities,” Harrison said. “As a kindergartner, staff members remember asking ‘Haley did that?’ When our new addition opened with lots of glass, Haley was asked to paint a husky mural.”

Former Hodgesville Elementary School student Haley Butcher is awarded an Upshur Star for her beautiful artwork at her former school. Haley painted a husky mural for the new addition open house and has promised to come back and change the scene from winter to spring as the seasons change.

Haley painted the windows at HES for their new addition and everyone remarked how beautiful they were.

“She went over and above with her talents and left us with an amazing piece of artwork,” Harrison said. “Haley has volunteered to come back and turn the husky scene from winter to spring. We can’t wait to see the results.”

The final Upshur Star named was community member Miranda Triplett, who is a Hodgesville alumnus, a parent, a volunteer, PTO president and an “‘I’ll do whatever is needed’ parent,” Harrison said. Harrison said Triplett is a mother of five, four of whom attend HES.

Community member and volunteer Miranda Triplett is recognized for helping make Hodgesville Elementary School a happier and more exciting place during the Christmas holidays. Triplett received an Upshur Star for her efforts as an alumnus, parent, volunteer, PTO president and parent at the school.

“At Christmas, Triplett headed up a group of volunteers who decorated our school with red and green paper chains, a husky-themed Christmas tree and even had the idea of the beautiful husky painting in our new addition,” Harrison said. “Triplett likes for everything to be in order, organized and takes the time to make it perfect. Without her, our students would not have so many unusual and exciting experiences.”

During each BOE meeting, members of the Upshur County Schools are recognized for their efforts to go over and above what is expected. The Upshur Stars program was introduced by Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus and continues to be a favorite of students, teachers, parents, BOE members, service personnel and community members.

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

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