BUCKHANNON — A recent West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate is finding quick success as she moves on in her ideal career following graduation. Kylea Arnold graduated Magna Cum Laude from WVWC a semester early in December, and almost immediately landed a job as the Community in Schools Coordinator for Roanoke Elementary School.
Arnold earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Educational Studies with a minor in Psychology. A 2016 graduate of Lewis County High School, Arnold started college with 22 credit hours already under her belt. During her time at Wesleyan, Arnold stayed involved in various on-campus organizations and volunteering throughout the community. She spent most of her college career working for the school’s Campus Life, having first been hired as a Resident Assistant her freshman year and then was promoted to Resident Director her junior year.
Arnold was awarded Outstanding Campus Life member in 2019. She also spent her four years in the Service Scholar Program, completing over 700 service hours at Mountain CAP’s local daycare Creative Beginnings, as well as in the Upshur County community. Additionally, Arnold participated in various other service opportunities as a member of the WVWC Collegiate 4-H Club and sister of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
On April 19, WVWC recognized Arnold with the ‘Wesleyan Values Award,’ which honors students who exemplify the four points of the Wesleyan mission statement: think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, act responsibly and demonstrate local and world citizenship through service. Arnold was also a part of Omicron Delta Kappa and National Society of Leadership and Success, two leadership honor societies. Her last semester, she completed approximately 100 hours at her internship with Peterson-Central Elementary School Counselor Teresa Light.
After graduating from Wesleyan, Arnold started her job search with the area Boards of Education. At first, Arnold planned on becoming a substitute teacher, but her interest was piqued when Lewis County Schools Superintendent Robin Lewis talked to Arnold about a potential position created through grant funding. The administrator thought Arnold would be a perfect fit for the job with her background knowledge and experiences through Wesleyan.
When Lewis County received the grant, Arnold said she mentioned it to her aunt Sarah Linger. They both applied and were subsequently hired. “That’s been a really cool experience getting to work with my aunt. I think it’s made our relationship and everything stronger and helped us become closer,” Arnold said. Arnold currently works as Roanoke Elementary’s Coordinator and Linger works as Lewis County High School’s Coordinator.
Arnold said she thoroughly enjoys her job. “I think that this is a great job and honestly, if you're someone that has a servant’s heart, doing things for others and working with kids is your thing, this doesn’t even feel like a job at times. It just feels like something good you get to do every day,” Arnold explained.
The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. “Things that they need to support them through their education, so when they’re at school, they can really focus on their education and not be worrying about things like ‘Where’s my next meal coming from?’,” Arnold added. “Really, I’m just the person who helps families and finds resources for them if they are struggling or going through things. I feel fortunate enough that our county was able to get these positions before COVID-19 hit. We’ve been able to help with food, and we’ve gone and visited families. We’ve just been an extra set of hands that are willing to help.”
“Honestly being able to get out and see the community, and with the food deliveries and school packets, getting to see where the kids live and where they’re coming from, it gave me a better perspective... It gave us a bigger perspective and let us see from a first-hand experience what some of these kids go through each day and how even just one person or one county can really affect those living there,” Arnold explained.
“I feel very fortunate for getting one of these positions because I was so young and had just gotten out of school. I think that it has been a great first job,” Arnold said. Arnold is currently working on a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Marshall University, with an extra Certificate of Advanced Studies in Violence, Loss and Trauma (VoLT). She hopes to become a school guidance counselor and stay in the Lewis County school system.
“I graduated Lewis County High School in 2016 and it's been rewarding and also eye opening being able to work in my county and see the needs of community members. It’s been a great experience being able to work in my county and I don't think you really see the needs that are in your own community until you get out and research or have a job like this. Also seeing all the outpouring love from community members, community resources, businesses. I don't think we realize how much of a need there is, or how much the community is able to provide and help.”