Lesson Learned (July 22)

With Sincere and Deepest Appreciation

This week, we welcome guest columnist Kristi Wilkerson, elected member of Upshur County Board of Education.

There’s a meme on Facebook depicting an image similar to the logo for the Survivor reality television show. It simply says, “I survived the longest school year ever.” With that in mind, I share my most recent “Lesson Learned.”

Sometimes, for instance during a global pandemic, expressing gratitude adequately is impossible, and now is such a time. Nonetheless, I express my deepest appreciation to all those who contributed to the school year that has just ended. It has been a difficult year for students, parents, and school employees, to say the least. This column is a “shout-out” to everyone who persevered throughout this past academic year.

THANK YOU to all the teachers, aides, and other staff who tackled teaching online, in the classroom, and through a combination of both!

THANK YOU to bus drivers and others in the transportation department who worked to keep students safe and secure en route and upon their arrival and departure from school!

THANK YOU to cooks and others who assisted in feeding our students! We can all be proud of the tremendous effort that was made to prepare and distribute nutritious food to the children and youth of Upshur County!

THANK YOU to specialty staff, such as counselors, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, nurses, and so on, who were beyond creative in serving students and meeting each one’s specific needs!

THANK YOU to secretaries and other service personnel who carried on with day-to-day tasks making sure the business side of schooling continued!

THANK YOU to custodians, maintenance staff, truck drivers, and other staff responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, distributing supplies, fixing a multitude of issues, and recognizing that remote learning offered opportunity to take on miscellaneous projects that often get postponed until summer or extended breaks!

THANK YOU to administrators in schools, in departments, and at the Central Office for seeking new, innovative, and unique ways of caring for the physical, mental, and educational needs of Upshur County students!

THANK YOU to community members, churches, civic organizations, and businesses who stepped up to partner with schools in various ways throughout the school year! We are also grateful to our school-based health clinic partner Community Care of West Virginia!

THANK YOU to parents, grandparents, guardians, caregivers and other family members who were so very patient throughout the countless challenges presented by the pandemic including, but not limited to, virtual classes, technology issues, hybrid instruction of two days per week in-school and three days at home, limited childcare options, and more, as we all worked together to keep our children and community members safe and healthy!

And, most especially, THANK YOU to our fantastic students who adapted to weekly, and sometimes daily, changes in schedule and in approach to education so that they could continue to learn reading, math, science, history, language arts, music, physical education, art, family/consumer science, agriculture, career and technical areas, and all other subjects, during the most difficult school year in memory! 

I am truly grateful for Upshur County Schools, and the community in which we live, for each and every way that our children and youth were supported and cared for recently. We are, indeed, Upshur Strong!

Kristi Wilkerson, elected member of Upshur County Board of Education


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