Fifth-grade students at Washington District Elementary came to the Upshur County BOE meeting to demonstrate the schools new drone program.

Washington District Elementary School fifth-graders demo new drone program

TALLMANSVILLE – Washington District Elementary School staff and students rolled out their new drone program Tuesday evening at the Upshur County Board of Education meeting.

WDES Principal Jeanne Bennett introduced some of her fifth-grade student helpers, who set up a demonstration of the school’s drone program.

“We just received a grant to purchase the drones, and the students came tonight to show the drones,” Bennett said.

Bennett said the grant for the drones was a Spark Grant she wrote last year with the technology integration specialist.

“We wanted to do drones because that is something we don’t have up here,” Bennett said. “We are hoping in the Spring, the students will be able to take them out and get pictures. We are starting very small.”

Bennett said the drones are controlled by iPads and have cameras in them. She said the specialist has only been to the school to work with the students once so far.

“But the students have jumped right in and they have learned so much,” she said.

The principal noted that working with the drones teaches math and cooperation among the students, who are in fifth grade.

“They will eventually do some mentoring and show the younger students how to use the drones,” Bennett explained.

WDES fifth-grade student Alex Hawkins said he is really enjoying working with the drones and is looking forward to learning more.

“We can make the drones do flips and 90-degree turns,” Alex said. “We can fly them through hoops and make them do all kinds of tricks. We can make them go in and over and back.”

Alex said working with the drones will help him in the future.

“I hope to join the Navy and use technology equipment,” he said.

Also during Tuesday’s board meeting, students, teachers, staff and parents recognized a handful of new Upshur Stars.

Upshur County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison introduced the first Upshur Star – Monica Leigh, who helps art students shine at WDES. Monica attended WDES, graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School and now, has come full circle to help the students at WDES appreciate and learn about art.

Washington District Elementary School Art Instructor Monica Leigh is recognized as an Upshur Star Tuesday during the Upshur County BOE meeting at the school. The Upshur Star certificate was presented by Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus.

“Monica Leigh has been nominated to be an Upshur Star because she has been a refreshing addition to the Washington District team,” Harrison said. “As an art teacher, she is creative and holds our students’ interest. When she graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 2008, she was a recipient of the Darla Edgell Scholarship, and she graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with an art education degree, finally returning to her Roadrunner roots to teach art to our students.”

“Monica has earned the respect of hunters in the school since she is an avid hunter as well. We are proud to have Monica on the staff as an Upshur Star.”

The Darla Edgell Scholarship provides a graduating B-UHS senior who attended WDES a $500 scholarship if he or she is planning to continue his or her education; it’s funded by a variety of fundraisers throughout the year.

The next Upshur Star to be recognized was WDES Title I instructor Tonya Jeffries. Unfortunately, Jeffries was unable to attend the meeting.

“Tonya is a vital part of the Washington District staff, having taught there for nearly 15 years,” Harrison said. “She is an integral part of the school. She has worked with many of our students and she knows their strengths and weaknesses. She is always ready to try something new with a struggling student and is a great resource for the other teachers. Now that her daughter is attending our school, she has an even greater commitment to the staff and the students. WDES is proud to say that Tonya Jeffries is an Upshur Star.”

WDES second grader Jordan Howell was recognized as the next Upshur Star.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison present Washington District Elementary student Jordan Howell with an Upshur Star for his outstanding positive behavior during PAX.

“Jordan displays productive PAX – the good behavior game – behavior when working on lessons in the classroom,” Harrison said. “He aims to do his best in all that is asked of him. Jordan is a caring second-grader who is concerned with the safety of other friends.”

Harrison said Jordan looks forward to coming to school every day.

“WDES is lucky to have Jordan as a PAX leader and an Upshur Star,” Harrison said.

Allison Lewis, a fourth-grader at WDES, was recognized as an Upshur Star. Allison was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting. Harrison said Allison is an Upshur Star because of her work as a PAX leader at WDES.

“She sets a good example for her peers as well as younger students in the building. Allison is hard-working and uses her time very wisely,” Harrison said. “In her spare time, you can find Allison reading independently or making up challenging math problems for her classmates to solve.

Harrison said Allison is always eager to participate in both whole class and small group activities.

“She takes it upon herself to help other students who are having difficulty completing their work. She also takes charge in a quite and non-threatening manner,” Harrison added.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said there were two more Upshur Stars to recognize.

“These gentlemen are members of the Band of Brothers, who go about doing good will to others,” Stankus said. “That is their complete mission – to do good and to serve others. I admire that.”

Two of the ‘Band of Brothers’ members are recognized as Upshur Stars during Tuesday’s BOE meeting. Al Tucker and Tim Rock said they will concentrate their donations into areas to help Upshur County Youth this year by selling West Virginia Scenic Calendars paired with donations.

Stankus said this year, the Christian men’s group, Band of Brothers, has chosen to honor children in Upshur County with their service.

Al Tucker said he is one of about 15 Band of Brothers members.

“We are a group of Christian men from across the community who represent about eight different churches,” Tucker said. “We love the Lord, and we meet every Friday morning at 6 a.m. for Bible study before we eat breakfast.”

Tucker said the men of the group have many talents, and many are good at “Mr. Fix-it” work.

“I have been doing a West Virginia scenic calendar for about 10 years now,” he said. “I did it initially at first for family and friends. Folks at my church asked to get one, so I started selling them with the money going to the youth of our church. About four years ago, Steve Foster said we could probably sell the calendars and do some good with the money that is raised.”

Tucker said they sold the calendars and used the money to take truck loads of food and Christmas presents to southern West Virginia.

“It was overwhelming to be able to do that,” he said. “We had enough money that we were able to go back at Easter and took food down and Easter candy down to help out.”

The following year, the Band of Brothers helped residents affected by the flood in Wetzel County and last year, they went to the poorest county in West Virginia, McDowell County, to help out.

“We were able to raise $25,000 last year through donations and the sale of calendars,” he said. “The generosity of this community and the outreach because of that is awesome.”

Band of Brothers member Tim Rock said the calendars are $15 each and all of the money is given away.

“This year, we are going to focus on Upshur County,” Rock said. “Some of the things we have done in the past include some of the backpack programs and we have done the Christmas Store. We support a Prison Angel Tree Ministry, which is a Christmas Party for children whose parents are incarcerated. Santa Claus shows up and we have a great party for these kids.”

Rock said funds will help support the Stockert Youth & Community Center.

“We have sent students to Young Life Camp,” he said. “There is a grandparents’ program starting up for grandparents who are raising their grandkids. You all know that is a big need in this county, and we want to support that. We will support 4-H and other youth groups in the county and are still exploring other ways of helping out.”

Stankus and Harrison presented Upshur Stars to Rock and Tucker.

Be sure to check back soon at My Buckhannon to see what happened during the business portion of Tuesday’s BOE meeting including details about the proposed Upshur County Employee Attendance Initiative and an update of the 2018-2019 Graduation Rate Report, which was the lowest in more than 15 years.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!