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Mollie Toppe Gives 4H Update

October 25, 2017
BY LAUREN MATTHEWS - Editor ( , Wetzel Chronicle

Wetzel County's WVU Extension Agent, Mollie Toppe, provided the Wetzel County Board of Education with an update on the county's 4H program. Toppe presented to the board at its regular Oct. 16 meeting.

Toppe thanked the board for allowing the 4-H members to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at that, and and a previous, meeting. She further thanked the board for its continued support of the 4-H program.

Toppe said the 4-H had a succcessful year of camp, with increased numbers and members of the "Clover Buds," which is the 4-H group for kids ages five to eight. Toppe said members of the Clover Buds do not spend the night at camp. A total of 132 campers attended 4-H camp, 82 girls and 50 boys. Thirty-four campers were Clover Buds.

Article Photos

Photo by Lauren Matthews
Trey Blain is recognized by the Wetzel County Board of Education. Blain, a Magnolia High School student, was honored as part of the 2017 Class-A All-State Golf Team.

The 4-H program had a large amount of volunteers this year, with 18 full-time counselors staying overnight. There were eight full-time volunteer junior counselors and 16 part-time volunteers/class instructors. Further staff included five WVU extension staff.

Of the volunteers, Toppe stressed that they all willingly give up time, many using work vacation time when volunteering at camp. Volunteers put in approximately 3,000 hours, a value of $62,940.

"We can't run 4-H without volunteers," Toppe said.

Toppe said all volunteers are vetted, going through background checks, testing, and training.

"So in addition to staying at camp with us, they put in a lot of time at camp. We really can't put a value on their time, because they are an invaluable part of the program."

Toppe said campers had a selection of 27 classes offered; some campers participated in kayaking this year, due to the new kayak launch at the 4-H grounds. Other activities included a science class, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes.

Toppe said campers studied the astronomy, the solar eclipse, and conducted science experiments. She said kids generally enjoy the classes and participated in an obstacle course around camp. The course included tossing a tire and climbing a wall.

Due to inclement weather - flooding - camp was closed a bit early, and kids were sent home Friday. Toppe said at about the time camp was closed, the electricity had gone out. "Even though we missed a little bit of camp, it was good we went home early," she said.

Toppe said 73 4-H projects were completed for Town & Country Days. Twenty-eight kids participated in the Livestock Show and Sale, and at a 4-H food stand, money was raised to support 4-H, as well as donations to flood relief. The Livestock sale totaled $67,537.20, including donations to scholarship fund.

Toppe also gave a report on the county's Energy Express program. She said the program is a partnership between WVU and Wetzel County Schools.

This year's Energy Express included three sites - Short Line School, New Martinsville School, and Long Drain School. Toppe said there was a slight decrease in enrollment at New Martinsville School, and not a very large enrollment at Short Line. However, she reported, the Long Drain School site is always "very popular."

Toppe said three Wetzel County teachers serve as site supervisors, one at each school. She noted that these teachers give up some of their summer to Energy Express and are in charge of college-age AmeriCorps members. The AmeriCorps members are college-age individuals, working with the kids who attend Energy Express.

Toppe spoke of the experience that is gained through serving as an AmeriCorps member. She said some of the now-teachers at Wetzel County Schools once worked at Energy Express.

"It's on-the-job training for them," she said.

Approximately six to eight kids were in each Energy Express classroom, and approximately 52 adult volunteers helped throughout the summer.

Funding for Energy Express comes from the WVU Extension Service, AmeriCorps, Volunteer WV, Wetzel County Schools, EQT, and individual donations.

Notably, Toppe reported the WVU Extension office has received a grant through Google. This grant will introduce kids to computer science and coding. Toppe said she hoped to work with the principals and teachers to bring the program to Wetzel County Schools.

"It is a great opportunity to get kids involved in computer coding. With students having laptops, it's a good program," she said.

After Toppe concluded her presentation, Board Vice President Bill Jones noted that 4-H has been a "solid building block for our kids in this county."

"I've watched it over the years, and it has been fantastic," he said.

Jones further complimented Toppe on the work she has done throughout the year. "I'm proud of that," he said.

Toppe was asked what the board could do, to assist in future endeavors. She asked that the board continue to support the WVU Extension office. She also said she would like to continue Energy Express in the county.

Board President Warren Grace said he would like to see Energy Express grow. He further said that 4-H "is a wonderful thing."

The board, per its agenda, also discussed a piece of surplus in Proctor District. Wetzel County Schools Treasurer Jeff Lancaster said Southwestern Energy was interested in the property, wanting to lease the mineral rights.

"We can't just lease that. We have to declare it as surplus property," Lancaster said, adding that the pertinent information would also be published in the paper.

The Proctor District property possesses Property Tax Identification Number 12-0004-0018-0000 and is approximately .5 acres. The board also approved allowing Superintendent Ed Toman to take all actions necesary to auction the lease rights for beneath the surface of the property. The agenda item stated that the property "has just been declared surplus school property no longer needed for school usage, for the purposes of drilling and/or extraction of the oil, natural gas, and other minerals therein.

"This authorization includes the authority to approve bidding rules for the lease auction including, but no limited to, setting minmum bid amounts, reserving the right to reject any and all bids including bids that meet or exceed the minimum bid if deemed to be in the best interest of the school..."

Also at the Oct. 16 meeting, Magnolia High School student Trey Blain was commended for being selected for the 2017 Class-A All-State Golf Team.

In other board of education news, the following matters were approved at the Oct. 2 meeting:


Margaret A. Lancaster, acceptance of resignation from position as countywide substitute teacher, effective Sept. 7.

Thomas R. Shannon, acceptance of resignation from position as seventh grade boys basketball coach at Short Line School, effective Sept. 7.

Professional Personnel:

Terri J. Goddard, approval for employment as countywide substitute school nurse, effective Oct. 3. (pending background check)

Kelslyn E. Kessler, approval for employment as countywide substitute teacher, effective Oct. 3. non-certified.

Kasey Sapp, approval for change in assignment from MI/LD/BD with Autism teacher at Hundred High School, to Social Studies Teacher at Paden City High School, effective the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

Jennifer N. Stoneking, approval for employment as countywide substitute teacher, effective Oct. 3.

Service Personnel:

Shirley A. Helmick, approval for change in assignment from countywide substitute cook to half-time cook at Paden City Elementary, effective Oct. 3. Will remain half-time countywide substitute cook.

Debra L. Robinson, approval in change in assignment from supervisory teacher aide/early childhood classroom assistant teacher, pre-k, at Short Line School to temporary bus aide, #17-3, effective January 22, 2018.

Jeremy M. Shepherd, approval for change in assignment from bus driver, #17-1, N State Route 2/Proctor/St. Joseph/Villas (-12), to bus driver, #14-4, Proctor/Grandview/North Paden City, effective Oct. 3.

Ashley Workman, approval for change in assignment from countywide substitute supervisory teacher aide to supervisory teacher aide/special education/Autism mentor at New Martinsville School, effective Oct. 3.


Charles R. Blair, approval for employment as mentor teacher, pre-k, at SLS, effective Oct. 3.

Charles R. Blair, approval for employment as mentor teacher, first grade, at SLS, effective Oct. 3.

Margaret G. Ensinger, approval for employment as mentor teacher, fourth grade, at NMS, effective Oct. 3.

Tiffany Heinzman, approval for employment as seventh/eighth grade evening events coordinator, fall season, at PCHS, effective Oct. 3.

Sandra K. Hinerman, approval as employment as mentor teacher, mathematics, at MHS, effective Oct. 3.

Ashley L. Greene, approval as mentor teacher, first grade, at PCE, effective Oct. 3.

Christine M. Mace, approval as mentor teacher, MI/BD/LD at PCHS, effective Oct. 3.

Heather D. Riggle, approval for employment as evening events coordinator, fall season, at PCHS, effective Oct. 3.

Sharon E. Snider, approval for employment as mentor teacher, fourth grade, at LDS, effective Oct. 3.

Wendy A. Tallman, approval for employment as mentor teacher, kindergarten, at NMS, effective Oct. 3.

Michelle K. Weekley, approval for employment as mentor teacher, mathematics, at PCHS, effective Oct. 3.

Mary A. Young, approval for employment as mentor teacher, sixth grade, at NMS, effective Oct. 3.

Mary A. Young, approval for employment as mentor teacher, pre-k, at NMS, effective Oct. 3.

Out of State Trips:

Approval of request from Meredith Pilant for the kindergarten and first grade teachers at NMS to take the students on a field trip to Sweet Apple Farm in Vincent, Ohio. (First grade trip on Oct. 18 and kindergarten trip on Oct. 20) Funded through student fees.

Approval of a request from Sadonna Kimble for the fifth grade teachers at PCE to take the fifth grade students to the Castle Museum in Marietta, Ohio on Nov. 29. Funded through student fees.

Approval of request for Jay Salva, Carolyn Hizer, Kathi Schmalz, Mark Batton, Steve Ross, Holly Cain, Beth Sigley, Rex Rush, JC Kimble, and Tara Beatty to attend the SREB Conference on Advanced Career Curriculum in Jacksonville, Fla. Oct. 14-17. Funded through Professional Development Funds and School SREB AC Funding.

Approval of request from Leslie Day and Matt Kinnard to take the MHS and PCHS Art students to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown, South Carolina on Oct. 20-23. Funded through donations and student fundraisers.

Request to Use School Facilities:

Approval of request from Becky Hilpert for the New Martinsville Animal Hospital to use the parking lot of Valley High School for a rabies vaccine clinic for animals on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Approval of request from Michaella Goddard for the Little Hornet Basketball to use the gym and cafeteria at LDS for basketball practices and games from Sept. 20 through Nov. 1.

Lease Agreement:

Paden City Health and Recreation Building Gymnasium leased from the PC Development Authority beginning Nov. 1 through October 31, 2018, for the hourly rate of $20, not to exceed 200 hours ($4,000) for the use of the gymnasium for the boys and girls athletic programs at Paden City Schools.



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