School nurse honored with Spirit of the Year award

BUCKHANNON — An Upshur County School nurse was honored Monday for her work with students from pre-K through 12th grade.
Diane Godwin received the Highmark Foundation Advancing Excellence in School Nursing Spirit of the Year Award during a ceremony before the Union Elementary School student body.
Dr. Sara Stankus, principal at Union, nominated Godwin for the honor.
“We sent an application telling other people now great Nurse Godwin was and they said, ‘you are right. You really do have a great nurse.”
The nomination states that Nurse Godwin provides services to approximately 1,536 students including acute care, medication administration, vaccine records and care plans, care plans and intervention guides which help faculty and staff when she is not in the building.
“She believes her role is to make sure the plan is in place whether she is at the school or serving students at another school,” the nomination states.
Eddie Vincent, first-year principal at B-UHS, said supporting Godwin for the award was an easy choice.
“Mrs. Godwin is a very important person at the high school also,” he said. “She has over 1,000 students who depend on her and 100 adults who depend and trust her. She is very helpful to us and it was very easy for me to recommend her for an award because she is a special person in our building.”
In addition to her role as school nurse, Godwin advises the Red Cross Club at B-UHS.
“She is very instrumental in collecting Cans for Kindness which provides food for the needy in the county,” Vincent said. “She is also behind our Red Cross blood drives and she is involved in Rachel’s Challenge. She is a caring, trusted adult in our building who has the respect of everybody. I’m very proud to make that recommendation for her. There is no one I can think of more deserving than Mrs. Godwin.”
Fourth grader Pressley Bowers provided a reading about Godwin.  Part of the Union choir also performed two selections.
Cathy McAlister, manager of corporate communication for High Mark West Virginia, presented the award to Godwin which comes with a $1,500 cash award she can use to  further her training.
McAlister said, “The Highmark Foundation has a very long history of working closely with schools to promote the health of children. We recognize that schools are powerful places to shape the health, safety, education and well-being of our children.
“We also understand that school nursing is much more than just giving an aspirin or something like that. Because we recognize that, that is why we wanted to do this award which is called the Advancing Excellence in School Nursing Award. It’s important that we showcase what they do everyday that affects your lives.
A panel reviewed the applications which came in from two states.
“The Highmark Foundation handles all of Pennsylvania and throughout West Virginia,” she said. “We looked at every one of those very carefully and we selected just 11 nurses out of that to receive this reward. I’m very happy to say that out of those 11, five of them are in West Virginia.”
McAlister noted that Godwin is receiving the Spirit of the Year Award for school nursing which highlights a person who is a role model as well as her love and compassion for caring for her students and the willingness to learn and advance the school nursing award.
The $1,500 award made out to Upshur County Schools will be used to reinvest in Godwin’s training and education.
Superintendent Roy Wager commended Godwin and noted that she had already been honored as the West Virginia School Nurse of the Year and achieved National Board Certification.
Godwin said, “I am so honored and humbled to receive this award.” It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be a nurse at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Union Elementary, Hodgesville Elementary, Little Ones Pre-K and Island Nursery Pre-K. I am passionate about promoting health and wellness in our schools and I really feel that healthy learners are better students.”

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