Prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Upshur County Board of Education, local Girl Scout troops set up and sold Girl Scout Cookies to fund their activities. Union Elementary Girl Scout Troop 35014 members at the sale include Oakley Moriarty, Henley Tiffner, Abby Hoover, Gianna Monteleone, Addison Riffle, Sarah Caynor, Elyana Marple and leaders Jannie Hoover, Mindy Monteleone and Michelle Riffle. The Girl Scouts along with their leaders were thanked for their service and received Upshur Stars during the BOE meeting.

Upshur Stars dazzle BOE with arts, music, community service

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Board of Education members were dazzled last week by the new Upshur Stars as they heard skilled students singing, saw their beautiful works of art and learned about their service to the community.

Before the Tuesday, March 23 BOE meeting, troops of Girl Scouts gathered to sell their delicious Girl Scout Cookies at a booth sale – raising money to support their leadership experiences to learn life skills and complete engaging, challenging and fun activities.

Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus pointed out there were many Upshur Stars in the audience during Tuesday’s BOE meeting and said it was a pleasure to recognize them.

The first Upshur Star presentation recognized Buckhannon-Upshur High School Chinese instructor Caifeng Feng. Kayla Yocum, technology systems/digital communication specialist, said Feng was unfortunately unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“She teaches students and provides her students with an experience regarding the Chinese New Year and elevating the Year of the Ox,” Yocum said.

Next to be recognized was Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School Art Instructor Sherri Butler. She said that March celebrates Youth Art Month in West Virginia.

“The West Virginia Art Education Association yearly promotes Youth Art Month and hosts a state-wide art show in Parkersburg,” Butler said. “This year, we were allowed to send nine pieces from each county. From B-UMS, we sent three pieces and I would like to honor Prudence Newcome. Her mask that she made was presented and it was really good. Her mask placed top honors in the middle school division.”

Butler brought along a picture Prudence did last year to show.

“We were moved by the fires in Australia, and we did a painting of some of the Australian animals,” Butler said as she showed off Prudence’s painting of a quoll, which is a carnivorous marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea. “Prudence also receives a certificate and a check for $100 from the West Virginia Art Education Association.”

Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus recognizes Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School art teacher Sherri Butler and student Prudence Newcome as Upshur Stars during Tuesday’s Upshur County BOE meeting. Prudence designed and made a mask that received honors in the West Virginia Art Education Association’s Youth Art Show in Parkersburg. Prudence is pictured with a painting she completed last school year of an Australian quoll she completed last year.

The next Upshur Stars were presented to FFA Instructor Allyson Lewis and her students. Lewis said for the past four years, her students have participated in the Innovation Contest hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Foundation, the WV Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

“This year, we had several students in the top category,” Lewis said. “They won their category and they competed in the final round. Each student earned $100 and an innovation kit that included a 3D printer.”

Lewis said one of the students was present for the meeting.

“Caylen Walton was in the top 10 for the business plan contest for agriculture students,” Lewis said. “She has also in two years, earned and invested more than $6,500 through her SAE.”

Buckhannon-Upshur High School FFA Advisor Allyson Lewis and FFA student Caylen Walton receive Upshur County Stars during the Tuesday Upshur County BOE meeting from Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, recognizing their participation and high scores in the Innovation Contest sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Foundation, the WV Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School Choir Director Jeremiah Smallridge introduced students who were selected for the WV Vocal Music Association All-State Chorus and the WV American Choral Director’s Association All-State Chamber Chorus. Those students making the All-State Chorus are senior Elizabeth O’Neill, freshman Victoria Adams, junior Ryanna Hines, senior Heather Humphrey, junior Kobe Hamrick, senior Ethan Lawrence and senior Patrick O’Neill.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School Choir members selected as WV Vocal Music Association All-State Chorus and the WV American Choral Director’s Association All-State Chamber Chorus include senior Elizabeth O’Neill, freshman Victoria Adams, junior Ryanna Hines, senior Heather Humphrey, junior Kobe Hamrick, senior Ethan Lawrence, senior Patrick O’Neill, sophomore Julianna Stark and senior Richard Williams. Choir members were recognized by the BOE and received an Upshur Star along with B-UHS Choir Director Jeremiah Smallridge. Students performed for BOE members and those in attendance at Tuesday’s BOE meeting.

Those selected for the All-State Chamber Choir include senior Elizabeth O’Neill, sophomore Julianna Stark, junior Kobe Hamrick, senior Patrick O’Neill and senior Richard Williams.

“There were only 25 students in the entire state selected for the All-State Chamber Chorus,” Smallridge prior to students delivering a performance.

“We are absolutely so proud of all that you have done to bring joy to our community through music,” Stankus said. “The fact that you could make that sound through your masks is incredible. Thanks so much for your inspiration.”

Stankus then gave Upshur Stars to the students and Smallridge.

“I am proud of these kids,” Smallridge said. “They worked really hard. We rehearse several times a week, not just for All-State but for choir and the Sound Waves. They are awesome kids.”

Finally, Yocum introduced the Girl Scout Troops of Upshur County.

“Girl Scouts offer leadership development experience and is proven to help girls thrive in key ways as they develop a strong sense of self, seek challenges and learn from setbacks, display positive values, form and maintain healthy relationships and identify and solve problems in the community,” Yocum said. “Tonight, each troop leader will receive an Upshur Star to share with their troop members.”

Yocum said Upshur County Schools would purchase 20 boxes of cookies to support the local Girl Scout Troops.

French Creek Girl Scout Troop 35017 sold Girl Scout Cookies prior to the Upshur County Board of Education meeting Tuesday before being recognized for their service and receiving Upshur Stars. Those accepting the awards include Jaden Messenger, Adelaide McVey, Railynn Conley and Karsyn Stackpole along with leader Adrienne McVey.

“These young ladies possess courage, confidence and character that truly make the world a better place to live,” Yocum said. “It is an honor to recognize our Girl Scouts and their leaders. Thank you for your contribution to the Upshur County School communities.”

Upshur County Girl Scouts and Leaders were recognized for their contribution to the community and received Upshur Stars at Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting. Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus thanked the leaders and Girl Scouts and presented them with Upshur Stars.

“I think these ladies will change the world with courage and character,” Stankus said. “Thank you so much for coming and sharing your cookies tonight and thank you to the troop leaders for your leadership in the community.”

The next Upshur County BOE meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.

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