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Welcome Back to School and College - Students, Teacher, and Staff - 2017-2018

The Gilmer Free Press
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Public School Start/End Dates for 2017-18 Across the Area

The Free Press WV

Barbour County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Tuesday, August 15

Last Day of School for Students: Wednesday, May 23


Braxton County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 10

Last Day of School for Students: Wednesday, May 16


Calhoun County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 14

Last Day of School for Students: Tuesday, May 22


Clay County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 17

Last Day of School for Students: Wednesday, May 30


Doddridge County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 14

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, May 25


Gilmer County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 14

Last Day of School for Students: Tuesday, May 22


Harrison County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Tuesday, August 15

Last Day of School for Students: Thursday, May 24


Lewis County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 14

Last Day of School for Students: Tuesday, May 22


Nicholas County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 21

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, May 25


Pleasants County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 17

Last Day of School for Students: Thursday, May 31


Ritchie County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 17

Last Day of School for Students: Thursday, May 31


Roane County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Wednesday, August 16

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, June 01


Tyler County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 17

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, June 01


Webster County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 14

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, May 25


Wetzel County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Monday, August 21

Last Day of School for Students: Thursday, June 07


Wirt County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Thursday, August 17

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, June 01


Wood County Schools

First Day of School for Students: Wednesday, August 16

Last Day of School for Students: Friday, June 01

NWS Puts Most of State Under Flash Flood Watch Through Friday Evening

The Free Press WV

The National Weather Service in Charleston has issued a Flash Flood Watch for its entire coverage area in West Virginia through Friday at 8 p.m.

“Rounds of showers and thunderstorms with very heavy rain are expected through Friday,” the NWS message said. “This rainfall, coupled with rain that has already fallen, could produce flash flooding, especially along small streams, creeks, low spots and poor drainage areas.”

Counties under the watch include: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Jackson WV, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Fayette, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Webster, Pleasants, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane,Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming.

The National Weather Service Office in Pittsburgh issued a similar Flash Flood Watch for the Northern Panhandle, Eastern Panhandle and north central counties from 6 a.m. Friday through 1 a.m. Saturday.

Sunday Storms Could Cause Flash Flooding

The Free Press WV

More than two dozen counties in West Virginia are under a Flash Flood Watch through Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said.

Additional rounds of thunderstorms containing very heavy rain could cause flooding along small streams and poor drainage areas, meteorologists said.

The counties under the watch include: Mason, Jackson, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Putnam, Kanawha, Roane, Wirt, Calhoun, Ritchie, Doddridge, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Taylor, Upshur Barbour, Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas, and Randolph.

Flash Flood Watch in Effect For Several WV Counties

The Free Press WV

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for nearly two dozen West Virginia counties through Friday evening.

According to NWS meteorologists, “A frontal system is expected to pass through the region Thursday afternoon and Friday. Storms associated with it could produce excessive rainfall. This rain coupled with the wet soils across the area could produce flash flooding, especially along small streams, creeks, low spots and poor drainage areas.”

Counties named in the watch include:

  • Barbour
  • Braxton
  • Calhoun
  • Doddridge
  • Gilmer
  • Harrison
  • Jackson
  • Lewis
  • Mason
  • Pleasants
  • Pocahontas
  • Randolph
  • Ritchie
  • Roane
  • Taylor
  • Tyler
  • Upshur
  • Webster
  • Wirt
  • Wood

West Virginia Library Commission Announces Grants to Public Libraries

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Library Commission has presented $110,093 in state grants to 30 public libraries in the state. 

The grants were awarded in June, based on facility and technology proposals from each library.

17 grants were awarded for facility maintenance and 14 for technology enhancements.  The following libraries received grant funding: 

  • Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Public Library
  • Brooke County Public Library
  • Burnsville Public Library
  • Chapmanville Public Library
  • Clay County Public Library
  • Craigsville Public Library
  • Gassaway Public Library
  • Hamlin-Lincoln County Public Library
  • Kingwood Public Library
  • Logan Area Public Library
  • Lynn Murray Public Library
  • Marion County Public Library
  • Mason County Public Library
  • Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library
  • Mountaintop Public Library
  • Nutter Fort Public Library
  • Paden City Public Library
  • Pendleton County Public Library
  • Philippi Public Library
  • Raleigh County Public Library
  • Roane County Public Library
  • Rupert Public Library
  • Shepherdstown Public Library
  • Summers County Public Library
  • Summersville Public Library
  • Sutton Public Library
  • Swayne Memorial Public Library
  • Valley Head Public Library
  • Wayne Public Library
  • Webster Addison Public Library


“These grants emphasize the important needs in West Virginia’s public libraries,” said Karen Goff, Executive Secretary of the WVLC.

“These dollars will allow libraries to make basic improvements to their facilities, as well as enhance computer access for their patrons.”


West Virginia Library Commission encourages lifelong learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement and an enriched quality of life by enhancing library and information services for all West Virginians. WVLC is an independent agency of the Office of the Secretary of Education and the Arts.

To learn more about the WVLC, please visit www.librarycommission.wv.gov or call us at 304.558.2041.

Students Named to Spring 2017 Honor Lists at GSC

The Free Press WV

The names of students who attained the Glenville State College President’s and Vice President’s Honor Lists for the Spring 2017 semester have been announced.

To be named to the President’s Honor List, a student must have a 4.0 grade point average on a minimum of 12 semester hours.

The students making the President’s Honor List are listed as follows according to their county of residence:

Berkeley County: Brianna D. Caison

Boone County: Tiffany D. Muller

Braxton County: Coleden R. Belknap, Bridget D. Carr, Amber N. Hyre

Calhoun County: Danielle N. Kendall, Cassandra D. Lamont

Clay County:  Dalton M. Holcomb

Doddridge County:  Dennis M. Bowling, Jr., Joshua M. Pitcock

Fayette County: Matthew H. Hackworth

Gilmer County: Anthony K. Aviles, Jonathan E. Clark, Michaela L. Gumm, Christina L. Jenkins, Amanda R. Lamb, Brett M. Rinehart, Wesley A. Self, Hilari E. Sprouse, Halee N. Wildman

Grant County: Larissa A. Henry

Jackson County: Chelsey Hager, Evan D. Merical, Clayton Swisher

Jefferson County: Taylor L. Corey, Jasmine N. Tarman

Kanawha County: Austin Broussard, Rebecca E. Wiseman

Lewis County: Jennifer M. Eiler, Justin P. Raines, Kelly L. Weaver

Logan County: Matthew A. Zachary

Marshall County: Logen M. LeMasters

Mason County: Anthony ‘AJ’ Howard

Mercer County: Lindsey R. Compton

Morgan County: Colton L. Brandenburg, Michael I. Pracht

Nicholas County: Lindsey S. Butcher, Kaitlyn D. Peyatt, Mark H. Sanson

Pocahontas County: Steven L. Casto

Preston County: Madison H. Null, Josiah D. Nuse

Putnam County: Joshua L. Brennan, Jessica A. Layne

Randolph County: Chad E. Cook, Daniel T. Crawford, Christopher D. Varner

Ritchie County: Brianna N. Ratliff

Roane County: Georgia B. Bing

Tucker County: Wiley T. Raines

Upshur County: Skylar A. Fulton, Belinda L. Lewis

Wayne County: James M. Egnor

Webster County: Samuel A. Canfield, Amber N. King, Chelsea E. Rule

Wirt County: Mary M. Strong

Wood County:  Taylor A. Broadwater

Out of State: Chere Y. Davis, Jacqueline T. Deary, Raven P. Fatool, Raven C. Greer, Jake Hensell, Momi P. Lievan, Allison A. Parski, Victoria L. Peterson, Brian S. Williams

***

To be named to the GSC Vice President’s Honor List, a student must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average on a minimum of 12 semester hours.

The students making the Vice President’s Honor List are listed as follows according to their county of residence:

Berkeley County: Alexander R. Miller, Logan M. Renner

Boone County: Andrew K. Boktor, Gregory I. Lail, Mackenzie R. Smith

Braxton County: Jordan D. Batton, Tyler K. Cunningham, Larissa E. DeLuca, Garrett E. Hacker, Sean R. Hawkins, Jacob D. Haymond, Tonya L. Lyons, Christian M. Pritt, Joshua L. Rexroad, Teddy J. Richardson, Randy A. Stiers, Andrew R. Tefft, Erica N. Toler, Kelsie R. Tonkin, Andrea B. Vidal, Elania N. White, Shanna S. Wine

Calhoun County: Moriah J. Creelfox, Sr., Jared B. Fitzwater, Amber N. Frymier, Chelsea R. Hicks, Kelsey E. Jett, Erica N. Jones, Devon T. Toppings

Clay County: Jessica M. Beckett, Julie A. Gross, Carrie G. Huffman, Caitlyn M. Rogers, Kristie D. Taylor

Doddridge County: Ryan M. Mizia, Megan J. Sheets, Lindsey G. Travis

Fayette County: Breanna N. Bennett, Anthony J. Murdock, II, Travis C. Myers, Trevor D. Wood

Gilmer County: Katelyn S. Benson, Madison L. Campbell, Janessia S. Cool, Teayria G. Cool, Sara B. Coombs, Tara S. Evans, Conner T. Ferguson, Samantha L. McCune, Matthew M. Montgomery, Cody M. Moore, Dawn R. Moore, Hannah M. Moore, Hunter Moore, Zaon A. Starseed, Lexsey A. Wagner, Timothy G. Wine, Carrissa M. Wood, Trevor D. Wright

Greenbrier County: Sarah Brunty

Hardy County: Faith V. Smith

Harrison County: Hannah J. Barron, Abby S. McCarty, Hannah M. Mick, Lia Runyan, Megan E. Ruppert, Amy A. Weiss, Bettie M. Wilfong

Kanawha County:  McKenzie M. Edmonds, Kayli N. Hudson, Jacob T. Lutsy, Jeri D. Potter, Bethany N. Spelock

Lewis County: Haley R. Biller, James Z. Browning, Mariah L. Daniels, Abigail E. Jerden, Michael W. Marion, James W. Martin, III, Daniel M. Pascasio, Mitchell D. Queen, Torie A. Riffle

Logan County: Kristin A. DesRocher

Marion County:  Emily A. Stoller

Mason County:  Kaylee M. Howard

Monongalia County: Hunter A. Given

Morgan County: Michaela A. Munson, Brady A. Tritapoe

Nicholas County: Zachary G. Dotson, Madison R. Frame, Kimmy K. Little, William Z. Lyons, Elizabeth M. Messer, Eric W. Peyatt, Autumn Siminski, Brooke A. Spencer, Joshua ‘Cameron’ Woods

Pendleton County: Virginia L. Bruce, Brittany L. Huffman, Chase M. Simmons, Raven D. Turner

Pleasants County: Bethany G. Mote

Pocahontas County: Lucas W. Fuller, Isaac C. Hise, Brooke A. Riffe

Putnam County: Tori L. Ward

Raleigh County: Jordan B. Coalson, Jacob Coots, Michael A. Layne, Matthew Welch

Randolph County: Jerome W. Smith

Ritchie County: Madison E. Cunningham, Olivia D. Goff, Valerie E. Ogle

Roane County: Bonita J. Schreckengost, Cassidy M. Taylor, James D. Williams

Tucker County: Catherine Chambers

Tyler County: Jessica L. Fiber

Upshur County: Heather A. Gregory

Webster County: Richard M. Burns, Tonya N. Sahl, Danielle Williams

Wetzel County: Colton L. Ring, Brandon M. Smith

Wood County: Brooke N. Radabaugh

Wyoming County: Kaci M. Mullins

Out of State: Ali P. Capobianco, Jr, Brianna T. D’Angelo, Jessica D. Digennaro, Sarah M. DiSpaltro, Alex E. Gilmore, Tanner B. Helms, Cedric J. Johnson, Justin S. Koogler, Julia E. Lindberg, Art’om T. Rank, John F. Routzahn, Isaiah R. Sattelmaier, Asiya B. Smith, Tayana L. Stewart, Johnni M. Tillman

Grants Available from Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon

The Free Press WV

The Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon opened its 2017-2018 grant cycle on May 01.

The foundation, formed in 2015, serves communities’ health care-related needs in Barbour, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur and Webster counties through its annual grant award process.

Letters of inquiry are due June 15. By June 30, the organization will approve the letters and invite submitters to send a full application. Complete applications are due August 15. Grants will be awarded in late September or early October.

“The Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon seeks partnerships with nonprofit organizations with the potential to inspire healthier choices for the communities of Barbour, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur, and Webster counties,” Executive Director Janell E. Ray said.

The PFB focuses its funding awards in four broad health care-related areas:

• Health and Wellness – Examples include diabetes prevention, oral hygiene, prenatal care.

• Leadership Development – Examples include staff and management training, marketing and fundraising training.

• Lifestyle Education – Examples include substance and domestic violence programs, homeless assistance, mental health care.

• Spiritual and Pastoral Care – Examples include hospice care, senior services, Alzheimer and dementia care, bereavement counseling.

The Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon provides grant funding for qualified 501(c)(3) organizations in Barbour, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur, and Webster counties in West Virginia that serve healthcare and healthcare-related needs of the community. Exclusion areas are capital projects, scholarships, endowments, and individuals. Learn more about the Foundation. pallottinebuckhannon.org/

West Virginia Hunters Harvest 11,539 Spring Turkeys In 2017

The Free Press WV

Spring turkey hunters harvested 11,539 gobblers this year, an increase of more than 11 percent from 2016, according to preliminary numbers provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The harvest is the largest since 2006 when 11,735 birds were harvested, and is more than 18 percent above the 10-year average.

“Weather conditions were variable across the state during this year’s spring gobbler season, so it’s nice to see hunters were able to get out and enjoy some successful hunting, which is reflected in the harvest numbers,” said Mike Peters, DNR game bird biologist.

Five of the six DNR districts reported increased harvests over last year.

District 4 was the only district in which fewer birds were harvested than in 2016.

District 1 again recorded the most birds harvested this year (2,578), followed by District 6 (2,250), District 5 (2,090), District 4 (1,858), District 3 (1,733) and District 2 (1,030).

The top five counties with the largest harvests were Preston (475), which was up more than 100 birds from last year, Mason (448), Jackson (408), Wood (380), and Harrison (327).

Youth hunters harvested 458 turkeys during the one-day youth season on April 15.

Those numbers are included on the accompanying table.

West Virginia Spring Gobbler Season Results

County

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Barbour

162

178

127

165

204

Brooke

104

84

67

78

100

Hancock

110

110

89

98

106

Harrison

355

264

247

286

327

Marion

218

149

170

192

256

Marshall

300

220

174

207

255

Monongalia

262

174

199

197

266

Ohio

131

91

109

111

113

Preston

403

344

333

371

475

Taylor

103

87

72

101

135

Tucker

57

88

82

90

97

Wetzel

256

203

168

196

244

District 1 Subtotal

2,461

1,992

1,837

2,092

2,578

Berkeley

98

112

124

115

147

Grant

129

129

131

161

145

Hampshire

124

138

156

170

184

Hardy

129

135

116

132

132

Jefferson

60

57

82

79

114

Mineral

87

96

118

134

132

Morgan

54

62

64

54

64

Pendleton

117

95

94

88

112

District 2 Subtotal

798

824

885

933

1,030

Braxton

238

175

194

197

209

Clay

147

68

83

101

120

Lewis

221

180

194

211

249

Nicholas

221

164

213

330

311

Pocahontas

160

130

145

144

143

Randolph

217

186

225

250

248

Upshur

262

229

231

228

303

Webster

118

113

114

156

150

District 3 Subtotal

1,584

1,245

1,399

1,617

1,733

Fayette

287

244

239

292

278

Greenbrier

299

245

242

308

269

McDowell

308

215

218

200

177

Mercer

177

170

161

176

192

Monroe

206

212

181

184

192

Raleigh

277

214

231

283

279

Summers

258

209

199

219

209

Wyoming

291

255

257

320

262

District 4 Subtotal

2,103

1,764

1,728

1,982

1,858

Boone

230

159

138

157

157

Cabell

138

80

110

114

176

Kanawha

332

231

227

285

319

Lincoln

213

178

169

215

228

Logan

246

181

172

181

165

Mason

370

293

314

378

448

Mingo

141

93

91

131

143

Putnam

225

150

181

210

268

Wayne

144

103

108

139

186

District 5 Subtotal

2,039

1,468

1,510

1,810

2,090

Calhoun

179

135

128

145

164

Doddridge

138

126

118

137

160

Gilmer

191

147

124

132

143

Jackson

326

293

264

302

408

Pleasants

83

73

71

80

89

Ritchie

326

245

218

216

263

Roane

236

232

210

231

256

Tyler

211

136

144

182

181

Wirt

193

177

153

174

206

Wood

294

271

248

328

380

District 6 Subtotal

2,177

1,835

1,678

1,927

2,250

State Total

11,162

9,128

9,037

10,361

11,539

8th Graders Honored For Golden Horseshoe Accomplishments

The Free Press WV

More than 200 eighth-graders from across West Virginia were honored at the state Culture Center in the annual Golden Horseshoe ceremony.

The students earned the honor of Knights of the Golden Horseshoe for their knowledge of West Virginia history.

“I am proud of each student who earned this elite honor today,” state School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine said. “The Golden Horseshoe recognizes students’ appreciation and understanding of West Virginia and promotes pride in our state.”

The Golden Horseshoe test has been given each year since 1931 in West Virginia. This year marks the 301st anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe tradition that began in the 1700’s when West Virginia was part of Virginia.

A complete list of 2017 winners can be found by visiting HERE.

GSC Class of 2017 takes part in Commencement Ceremony

Glenville State College’s 143rd Commencement Ceremony took place on Saturday, May 06, 2017 in the college’s Waco Center.

The Glenville State College Class of 2017 includes graduates who completed requirements for an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in a variety of academic areas including business, criminal justice, teacher education, and natural resource management among others. The GSC Class of 2017 is made up of approximately 110 students who hail from throughout West Virginia and nine other states.

The Free Press WV
Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr delivers his keynote address


Retiring Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr delivered the keynote address to graduates and guests. Barr, who has been at the helm of the nearly 145 year old institution since 2006, is retiring at the end of the current academic year.

In his address Barr likened himself to the spring graduates, noting that he too is preparing to make a big adjustment in his life. “I, like you, will soon depart this campus for new adventures. I’ve come to respect and love the students and faculty who make this campus come to life,” he said. Barr also compared the junction in the graduate’s lives to the single traffic light in downtown Glenville; “We approach that single stoplight one more time and ask – ‘where do we go next?’ – this is a time for us to think ahead and move forward.” President Barr also repeated a favorite line in which encouraged the students to endeavor to “make the world a little better place.”

The Free Press WV
President Barr with Faculty Award of Excellence recipient Dr. Lloyd Bone


The title of Faculty Emeritus was bestowed upon retiring professors Dr. Milan Vavrek and Wayne de Rosset. In addition to teaching in the Department of Land Resources, Vavrek has also served as the College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs since July 2015. de Rosset leaves the institution after 43 years of service in the Department of Language and Literature. The College’s Board of Governors also recognized Senior Vice President for Student & External Relations James W. Spears with Vice President Emeritus status and President Barr with President Emeritus status. Additionally, GSC Foundation Board Treasurer Mary Lee McPherson was presented with an honorary degree.

Eleven members of the GSC Class of 1967 returned to campus and were honored as fifty year graduates; seven of those participated in the official ceremony on Saturday. Recognizing the fifty year graduates has become a tradition at GSC’s Commencement Ceremony.

The Free Press WV
President Barr with Student Leadership Award recipient Samuel Canfield of Cowen, West Virginia


Individual awards also were presented during the ceremony to an outstanding faculty member and graduate. Associate Professor of Music Dr. Lloyd Bone received the 2017 Faculty Award of Excellence and the 2017 Student Leadership Award was given to graduating senior biology and chemistry student Sam Canfield of Cowen, West Virginia.

“Each of you should take great pride in your success. You should leave this occasion proudly and ready—or nearly ready—to take your places in the world. At Glenville State, you have committed your time, your energies, and your passions in the successful pursuit of the knowledge and skills to be productive citizens,” said President Barr in closing comments to the graduates.

Fall classes at GSC will begin on Monday, August 14, 2017. For information on enrolling and beginning your journey as a GSC Pioneer, visit www.glenville.edu or contact the Glenville State College Office of Admissions at 304.462.4128.

Gilmer Students Among GSC Business Department Honorees

The Glenville State College Department of Business recently announced its list of Distinguished Business Students for 2017. Recognition of these top twenty business students is based on multiple criteria including academic achievement, class rank, campus involvement, and leadership in department classes and programs. Additionally, some students are recognized for specific departmental awards.

Those recognized as Distinguished Business Students included: Julie Bishop from Glenville, West Virginia; Kristin DesRocher from Chapmanville, West Virginia; Conner Ferguson from Glenville, West Virginia; Bryan Foster from Jacksonville, Florida; Landon Gumm from Glenville, West Virginia; Charles Kendall III from Grantsville, West Virginia; and Stephen Mickle from Woodbridge, Virginia.

The Free Press WV
GSC Assistant Professor of Business Administration Dr. Dwight Heaster with Julie Bishop


The Free Press WV
GSC Professor of Economics Dr. Gary Arbogast with Conner Ferguson


The Free Press WV
GSC Professor of Economics Dr. Gary Arbogast with Landon Gumm


The Free Press WV
GSC Professor of Economics Dr. Gary Arbogast with Brett Rinehart


Specific award recipients included:

  • Ernest H. Smith Award and Outstanding Accounting Student – Raven Fatool of Sunbury, Pennsylvania

  • Freshman with the Highest Major Fields Test Score – Jakob Payne of Webster Springs, West Virginia

  • Senior with the Highest Major Fields Test Score – Brett Rinehart of Cumberland, Maryland

  • Outstanding Computer Science Student – Jordan Batton of Flatwoods, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Management Student – Abigail Jerden of Weston, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Marketing Student – McKenzie Edmonds of Clendenin, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Sport Management Student – Hunter Given of Cowen, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Business Education Student – Nathan Kincaid of Summersville, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Two-Year Student – Tiffany Brannon of Chloe, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Freshman Business Student – Gregory Lail of Hickory, North Carolina

  • Outstanding Sophomore Business Student – Daniel Crawford of Elkins, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Junior Business Student – Luke Carpenter of Glen Daniel, West Virginia

  • Outstanding Senior Business Student – Moriah Creelfox Sr. of Alma, West Virginia

For more information on the event or the GSC Department of Business, call 304.462.4123.

Report: More Mountain State Students Pursuing Higher Education

Braxton, Doddridge and Clay counties lead the way in improving college-going rates

The Free Press WV

More West Virginia high school graduates went on to pursue higher education last year, according to a report released by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS). The college-going rate increased for the second consecutive year, inching up by 0.3 percent — or 266 students — from 2015 to 2016.

“These gains, while subtle, represent a solid step in the right direction,” Dr. Paul Hill, HEPC Chancellor, said. “For several years, the impact of the 2008 recession led to wide variations in college-going rates, not only in West Virginia but across the nation. Now that the economy is beginning to stabilize, we’re more confident that the small strides we’re witnessing represent genuine progress in creating a college-going culture in West Virginia — a process that takes time and occurs student by student, community by community.”

Braxton, Doddridge and Clay counties led the state in achieving the highest rates of improvement in college-going rates from 2015 to 2016. Braxton County High School (Braxton), Magnolia High School (Wetzel) and Chapmanville Regional High School (Logan) showed the greatest gains at the school level. Ohio, Mineral and Monongalia counties had the highest rates overall. A complete list of rates by school and county is available at http://www.wvhepc.edu/resources/reports-and-publications/2016-college-going-rate/.

“West Virginia needs more college graduates to grow its economy and invigorate its workforce,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, CTCS Chancellor, said. “I commend those high schools and school districts that are putting a real focus on helping their students pursue some form of postsecondary education. The future prosperity of our state depends on getting more students into college and ensuring they succeed and graduate.”

The 2016 Higher Education Report Card, released last fall by HEPC and CTCS, also outlined gains in college retention and a record number of degrees awarded by the state’s public colleges and universities.

HEPC and CTCS are charged with developing and implementing a five-year statewide strategic plan for higher education that includes a strong focus on improving access to higher education and promoting college completion and success. As part of this process, the agencies have in recent years launched a number of strategies that are proving to have an impact on higher education attainment.

For example, the federally funded “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)” initiative provides college mentoring and planning services to middle and high school students in ten of the state’s most economically challenged counties. The statewide College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) initiative offers information, including text message counseling, to help students navigate the college application and enrollment processes. And recent policy changes overhauling the delivery of developmental education and encouraging students to enroll in a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester are showing promising results toward raising college graduation rates.

West Virginia High Schools Recognized for Exemplary Graduation Rates

Seventy West Virginia high schools were recognized for achieving exemplary graduation rates of 90 percent or greater during the 2015-16 school year. Schools were honored by Governor Jim Justice’s Chief of Staff, Nick Casey, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano and the West Virginia Board of Education.

“Our state becomes stronger with each student that graduates high school,” Martirano said. “The high schools here today deserve the praise they are receiving for achieving a 90 percent or higher graduation rate. Our schools see the potential that a high school graduate holds for our state and they, along with the Department of Education and Board of Education, have made it a top priority to ensure our students show up, work hard, and earn a diploma.”

The Free Press WV
Gilmer County Superintendent Mr. Devono and GCHS Principal Mrs. Butcher
receiving a plaque in Charleston during a recognition ceremony.


Recent data show more students in West Virginia are graduating from high school when compared to previous years. Several statewide initiatives contributed to the steady increase in the graduation rate. Most notably the creation of the state’s Early Warning System, which tracks 45 different indicators – the most important being attendance, behavior and grades – to identify students at risk of dropping out.

West Virginia’s graduation rate has continued to rise throughout the last several years. Data from the U.S. Department of Education placed West Virginia among the top 20 states for graduation rates in 2014-15, with a rate of 86.5 percent. The average graduation rate in the Mountain State for the 2015-16 school year increased even more to 89.81 percent.

Of the 70 schools recognized, four schools achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent. Those schools include; Union Educational Complex, Harman High School, Pickens High School and Paden City High School.

The 70 schools recognized represent 60.3 percent of the 116 high schools in West Virginia. The overall graduation rate for all West Virginia high schools was 89.81 percent.

 

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

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