Lessons Learned (April 7)

Every year in March and April, we go through a budget process vital to the functioning of our Upshur County Schools Board of Education. Our positive balance grows. And our county is one of two school districts in West Virginia that is growing in student enrollment. For that I am grateful. After all, our raison d'être is the education of students, including promoting academic preparation, social responsibility, employability, and a desire for lifelong learning.

A favorite agenda item for me is the fare-thee-well visit by the Upshur County Extension Office.    4-H meant so much in my growth and development. How pleased I am that the BOE supports clubs participating in various schools on their club days. Yearly in August, our students have an auction of local homegrown farm animals, to the tune of about $72,000 last summer even with the horrid Coronavirus Pandemic. We get great support from our community partners who bid on and buy livestock at its finest. And our 4-H Archery Club meeting at B-U Middle School has hundreds of students clamoring for a skill set hitting the bullseye target.

The 4-H projects of my youth meant so much to me: three years of West Virginia trees; three years of photography; three years of carpentry; and charting, which is an opportunity to map ideal steps through adolescence to maturity. Of our five-member BOE, both Kristi Wilkerson and I rose to the esteemed honor as 4-H All Star Awardees.

Though not a budget item, our BOE welcomed Girl Scouts of America troops to our meeting. Each of the Scouts gave us her name as we heard about their leadership building program. I guess there was a budget item—I bought five boxes of Girl Scout Cookies! Yum yum! Money well spent.

Our March 23rd public meeting of the BOE just got better and better. This is because music teacher extraordinaire Jeremiah Smallridge, NBPT, Director of Buckhannon-Upshur High School Theatre and Choir, brought some of our Upshur Stars singing standouts to perform for us.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School has nine students who will join students from across West Virginia in the WV All-State Chorus and WV All-State Chamber Choir. The students from B-UHS accepted into the WVMEA All-State Chorus include senior Elizabeth O’Neill, freshman Victoria Adams, junior Ryanna Hines, senior Heather Humphrey, junior Kobe Hamrick, senior Ethan Lawrence, and senior Patrick O’Neill. Those selected for the WVACDA All-State Chamber Choir include senior Elizabeth O’Neill, sophomore Julianna Stark, junior Kobe Hamrick, senior Patrick O’Neill, and senior Richard Williams.

Our BOE followed the recommendations of Dr. Sara Stankus, our newly reappointed Superintendent of Upshur County Schools, approving the choir trip to Washington, DC, next year. What an honor to be the only West Virginia Choir performing at the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Lesson learned is that President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill admitting West Virginia to the Union on December 31, 1862. On March 26, 1863, West Virginia ratified the revised constitution to include the gradual emancipation of slaves. President Lincoln proclaimed that West Virginia would officially be recognized as a state on June 20, 1863. And Buckhannon-Upshur High School will have our wonderful choir extolling President Lincoln.


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