BUCKHANNON — A stellar bunch of kids were recognized as Upshur Stars at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening. Buckhannon-Upshur High School freshman Jordan Brown was the first to be honored for winning third place in the state at the Young Writers Contest. BOE member Kristi Wilkerson read aloud a statement from his teacher, Cheryl Cain, which ended with, “I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish in the future. Thank you, Jordan for taking full advantage of every hard reading, thinking and writing task I have put in front of you to win with your writing at the state level. Congratulations.”
Next, four eighth graders from Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School received Upshur Stars awards for becoming Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. Bryce Cayton, Nathan Cornett, Ian Donnen and Lakoda Lantz were bestowed this great honor for excelling on the Golden Horseshoe contest. This prestigious program takes its name from the golden horseshoes given to the early explorers of West Virginia. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison, who was herself a Lady of the Golden Horseshoe, proudly stated, “It is a very difficult test to take and these guys are to be highly commended for their success in being awarded the Golden Horseshoe.”
Camden Wentz was the next recipient of an Upshur Stars award for his impressive musical achievements. He is currently the first chair, principal cellist in the WV Symphony, where he is performing at the highest of three levels. BOE Vice-President Katie Loudin said, “This is a big deal. He is essentially the best cellist in the state.” Wentz will be auditioning for the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony on May 7 and he also organized and conducts the Upshur Youth Symphony, which includes musicians from neighboring counties. Most impressive is the fact that he is just a freshman and has only been playing the cello for about three years. Wentz played two beautiful pieces for the group following the presentation of his award.
The final Upshur Star of the evening to be recognized was B-UMS sixth grader Hunter Sawyers. A piece of his artwork was recently sent to the WV Art Education Association’s state art show in Parkersburg, where he won Best of Show. As a result, Sawyers’ painting was sent on to the WV Department of Education’s Arts Alive showcase in Charleston, where he was awarded with Best In State, K-12. In addition to the distinguished honor, he was awarded a $1,000 cash prize and his school also won $500 in art supplies. Sawyers humbly said, “When I was making it, I never thought it would go to a competition or win money. I was pretty shocked about that and excited.” His art teacher at B-UMS Virginia Hicks replied, “He’s being modest here, he’s very good.”