It was a night of recognition at the Smyth County School Board on Monday night as board members recognized students and staff for various accomplishments and were themselves honored for School Board Appreciation Month.
The board and those attending the meeting were entertained by Delaney Bumgarner who performed “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home” from the Barter Theatre production of The Music Man at Northwood Middle School last fall. This was the song Bumgarner sang in the production and she came to the meeting dressed in her costume.
Chilhowie High School junior Alex Wheeler was recognized for a giant self-portrait she painted that won a gold key award in the Scholastic Art & Writing Contest and is exhibited at the fine arts center in Pulaski. She is a national finalist for her work with an announcement expected in March. Her art teacher, Joey Blevins, was recognized for his assistance to her with her award-winning art.
County spelling bee winner Caroline Hayden of Northwood Middle School was applauded for her win after 11 rounds of competition with the word “tempestuous.”
Another school spelling champ, Lacey Crusenberry, a student at Saltville Elementary, presented large “thank you” cards to the school board members on behalf of the school and in honor of School Board Appreciation Month.
Board members were presented certificates of appreciation from Superintendent Dr. Dennis Carter.
Governor Ralph Northam declared February as School Board Appreciation Month to recognize the efforts of the approximately 850 local school board members who set policy and provide leadership for Virginia's public school systems. The theme of this year's School Board Appreciation Month is Advancing Opportunities for All, which reflects the top priority of local school board members as they advocate for public education with local, state and federal leaders on behalf of their students.
Smyth County School Board members and their respective districts are: Susan B. Williams, Atkins District; Todd Williams, Chilhowie District; Charles M. "Mac" Buchanan, North Fork District; William A. Veselik, Park District; Paul L. Grinstead, Royal Oak District; Jesse Choate, Rye Valley District; and Roger Frye, Saltville District.
Choate presented a certificate of appreciation to Tara Pruitt for School Board Clerk Appreciation Month.
The board also welcomed Smyth County and 2018 Region 7 Teacher of the Year Chrystle Gates from Chilhowie Elementary School to talk about her experiences with the regional award and as a music education teacher.
“What an exciting year this has been for me,” Gates said. She will go to Richmond in March to talk about her teaching program.
Gates said her regional award and the fact that last year’s Virginia Teacher of the Year is a choral music teacher sends a clear message that the subject she teaches is important to a child’s education.
“I want the community to see music education is important to the learner,” she said.
When she was informed of the regional recognition last year, Gates said, “I will take every advantage of this opportunity to promote arts education and have the voices of Southwest Virginia education heard.”
Also at the meeting, the board:
- Approved the calendar for 2018-19 with the first day of school set for Thursday, Aug. 9.
- Heard from the superintendent that representatives of the Lifetime Wellness Center in Marion will be coming to the schools starting in March to provide staff wellness activities after school. This program has been well received, Carter said.
- Was informed by Carter that the student dental program will now include services from the Southwest Virginia Regional Dental Center in Saltville as well as Gates Dentistry in Marion. Sedation dentistry is available through a provider in Abingdon. “It’s a significant need in Southwest Virginia and we’re very grateful to have these providers,” Carter said.