Several Wetzel County students were recognized at Monday night's meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education. Superintendent Diane Watt first recognized Valley High School's Land Judging team, who took away second place in the national FFA Homesite Competition and third place in the national FFA Land Judging Competition that was held near Oklahoma City, Okla.
VHS FFA members who were honored Monday night were Rachel Wyatt, J.D. Morris, Samantha Thomas, and Sophia Adams. "It's my pleasure to welcome Annie Hall and her students," Watt explained. "I told them I've talked to Ms. Hall about land judging and soil judging, but anyway, she's schooled me a little bit about what they do. It's so involved and takes so much hard work, I can't even pretend to understand what you guys do. I know you've worked hard and have made Wetzel County proud."
Wetzel County students Myshna Napier of Magnolia High School and Anntwinette Fox of Long Drain School were then honored for receiving third place in the Young Writer's Contest. Napier's story, titled "Amazing Grace", was about a little girl during the time of World War II. Napier said the girl's father is taken away to war because of the draft. "He goes to Iwo Jima and loses his life after helping to raise the flag." Napier said her story was not based on anything she read, that it just came to her.
Pictured is Anntwinette Fox, Long Drain School, and Myshna Napier, Magnolia High School, third place Young Writer’s Contest winners.
Fox's story, titled "Indian Summer", is about growing up in West Virginia, in a small town. Fox said her story came from personal experiences and is a story about how people have a lot of stereotypes about life around here, "and it's really not that bad."
In another matter, Watt explained that the most recent state legislative session has had a lot of action; she said first and foremost for the board to take into consideration is House Bill 2940. This bill states "during the months of July and August 2013, and thereafter biennially within two months following the organizational meetings of county boards required by section one-c, article five of this chapter, all county superintendents of schools and members of county boards belonging to the same regional educational service agency shall meet together to identify administrative, coordinating, and other county level services and functions that may be shared . . ."
Watt stated that the meeting that affects the Wetzel County Board of Education will take place Aug. 8, 3-8 p.m. in Marshall County. "I know it effects many of you with your schedule, but it's going to be very interesting. It's going to give boards the opportunity to share with other counties, shared duties and things like that ... services, filling resignations, retirements, all those types of things." Watt explained that the meetings are "absolutely not for any decisions." Instead, the meetings, "give the opportunity to rub elbows with Ohio County, Marshall County . . . see what similar needs you have."
Director of Ancillary Services Brian Jones told the board that after a previous board meeting, when board member Carolyn Gatian inquired about making Magnolia's track eight lanes, he contacted Hiberger Paving. "The materials have already been purchased; we already have a contract, and have already bided for a six-lane track."
"My greatest concern is, maybe assuming that the east fence is on the property line, and the new fence we just put in behind Magnolia's press-box, there would be three inches between the outside lane and the chain link fence on both the east and west side, toward the north end . . . it's not a rectangle . . . it's a trapezoid, it narrows on the north end by a couple of feet."
Jones stated that according to measurements, if there was a shuttle team or a hurdle team running eight lanes, "parts of your body might extend beyond that 42 inch lane, and three inches beyond that, is a chain-link fence."
Board member Bill Aberegg stated that one would have to take into consideration the light pole by the south end of the parking lot, "It's the big pole for the football field . . . it's only nine feet away from the track."
"That's true, but on the south end of the track, you have a little bit more room." Jones said that there are about two feet from the outside lane.
Furthermore, Jones stated that there are five utility poles that would need to be moved. "Those poles are on our side of the fence, so if you move that fence, then you have those poles to consider."
Board member Gatian stated that it was all just a thought from the previous meeting. "We just don't know about the cost . . . how much issue it'd cause with everything else. It's just a thought, to put a regional track meet here . . . Why not make it the best it can be rather than giving it partial of what it can be?"
"Has anyone ever looked at the specified requirements, such as restroom facilities and having to seat so many, park so many," Board President Mike Blair inquired.
"I talked to Mrs. Watt," Jones stated. "I said we made the best decision we could make when had budget numbers . . . Whether we make it an eight-lane track or a six-lane lane track . . . Mr. Aberegg said it should bank to in-field, and it banks to the outside . . . Maybe the only thing I can think of is because we are in the flood plain. Otherwise, you'd have a pond, no drainage."
Blair stated that if the school doesn't meet the requirements, "we are kicking a dead horse." He used Valley High School as an example. "Valley High School didn't meet seating criteria and parking criteria, because we talked about putting a lot of money out there." Blair stated that they had to consider what the WVSSAC required. "I don't think we have the restroom facilities . . ."
"It banks the wrong way; it's not level. You have to tear up everything and start over . . .," Jones explained.
Gatian suggested that there are other ways some money could be spent to improve Magnolia's track. "I don't know if you've watched the shuttle races . . . they had to throw the football field lights on to be able to see on the back side."
In another matter, Board Member Linda Kirk expressed concerns relating to the school system's new digital books. "We adopted one textbook this evening, and we adopted some earlier . . . I had a parent talk to me again the other night about a kid wanting to bring a book home and the teacher wouldn't let them. If kids ask to take the books home, I think they should be allowed to." Watt requested that Kirk speak to her after the meeting regarding the matter.
In other board news, the Wetzel County Board of Education budget was adopted. A special meeting of the board of education will be held today at 5 p.m., to name a new superintendent.