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Board Honors Lively, Recognizes Argonauts

By Staff | Mar 28, 2018

Shortline School’s Leslie Lively stands alongside student Dustin Higginbotham and Board Member Warren Grace. Lively was recognized as the recipient of a prestigious award — the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award.

March 19 brought an evening of recognition to the Wetzel County Board of Education meeting. Several distinguished guests were honored, including a local Girl Scouts troop, which led meeting attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Also, Short Line School’s Leslie Lively was recognized as the recipient of the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award. This award is via the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project.

The Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award was created by NEED in memory of long-time NEED teacher and staff member Bob Thompson. Thompson was a dedicated teacher, friend, and proponent of science and energy education.

The award includes a $1,000 cash grant to Lively to use as he/she chooses in the classroom and an all-expenses paid trip to the NEED Energy Conference for Educators hosted in Galveston, Texas, July 8-12. The award will be given at the 38th Annual NEED Youth Energy Conference and Awards hosted in Washington, D.C. June 25.

Of his award, Lively credited those around him. He noted it is not he who earns the award, but his students.

Pictured are Carolyn Hizer, Martha Doiron, and Abbe Stackpole — 2018 JASON Argonauts for Wetzel County Schools.

In another matter, the board and meeting attendees also had the opportunity to meet Wetzel County’s 2018 JASON Learning Argonauts – students Martha Doiron (Valley High School) and Abbe Stackpole (Paden City High School), along with teacher Carolyn Hizer (Paden City High School). This trio will head on an expedition to Nicaragua to learn about active volcano study.

JASON Learning is a nonprofit founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. Notably, Ballard is best-known for his discovery of the Titanic.

JASON Learning provides curriculum in science, engineering, technology, and math; Wetzel County Board of Education is implementing the curriculum.

Argonauts are student and teacher pairs who go on adventures. Argonauts travel to national parks, as well as islands around the world. On these travels, Argonauts meet and study with scientists.

According to JASON Learning, each Argonaut applicant applies for an Argonaut position through a highly competitive and rigorous selection process.

Recently, Hundred High School student Travis McCoy, along with Brittany Mason (fifth grade teacher at New Martinsville School), and Sharon Snider (fourth grade teacher at Long Drain School) attended an expedition to Malaysia, as JASON Argonauts. Prior to that, Short Line’s Lively, along with Aubrey Neff (PCHS student) and Haley Feldmeier (Magnolia High School student) attended an expedition to Peru.

In another matter, Assistant Superintendent Shane Highley spoke on the preliminary 2018-2019 Wetzel County Schools calendar. March 19 was the first of two public hearings required. These meetings allow interested parties to discuss the calendar. The March 19 meeting was held at New Martinsville School, while an April 2 meeting will be held at Valley High School.

Once public input is garnered, the calendar will be submitted to the State Superintendent for approval.

Wetzel County’s preliminary calendar currently has Sept. 4 as the first day for students, while the last day of instruction would be May 31. However, this would not factor in snow days. Thanksgiving break would be Nov. 19-23, with a return date of Nov. 26. Christmas break would be Dec. 4 through Jan. 1, with a return date of Jan. 2. Spring break would be April 19-23, with a return date of April 24. CD Days are currently Aug. 23-30 and June 18-19. OS Days are June 10-17.

As for the current, 2017-2018 school year, it was reported that the last day of school is currently June 8. However, this is an unofficial date.

Also at the March 19 board meeting, the board heard a presentation from Wetzel County native Breanna Nolan.

Nolan is currently a student at West Virginia University School of Medicine and will graduate in May. As part of her rural scholars studies, Nolan is aspiring to implement the GoGirlGo program at Short Line School for girls in grades fifth through eighth.

GoGirlGo, which offers a free curriculum, is used nationwide to encourage physical activity.

The program’s curriculum deals with an age-appropriate topic for girls each week, followed by 30 minutes of physical activity. Nolan said she hopes to conduct follow-ups with the program’s participants.

Participants, and their parents, would have to consent to the program, and participants would fill out a brief survey prior to the program, addressing topics such as eating habits.

Data from the GoGirlGo program will eventually be translated to the form of a poster or manuscript, according to Nolan.

The board expressed interest in Nolan’s endeavors, as President Warren Grace asked how the board could help her with the program. They also expressed gratitude for Nolan choosing to stay and work in West Virginia. Nolan said West Virginia, and this area, “makes my heart full.”

In another matter, Jamie Doty and Director of Facilities Brian Jones provided the board with an update on security upgrades at Wetzel County’s schools. The duo described the detailed entry system for the county facilities, the ability for the buildings to lockdown, and the implementation of intrusion resistant glass, as well as upgrades to cameras. They also stressed how strict the entry system is with key fobs, making sure only the people that need fobs have them.

Board member Mike Blair referred to Doty and Jones as “unsung heroes,” as the two have remained constant in staying up-to-date on the latest technologies to keep the schools safe. Jones noted that Doty is “tireless.”

Grace expressed the importance of always staying up-to-date on security. “I want us to be the best we can be.”