WILLIAMSON — Riverside Elementary played host to a pair of LSIC meetings Tuesday night, for both the host school and Williamson Middle School.
Among those in attendance for the Local School Improvement Council meetings were around 100 people from the community and the members of the Mingo County Board of Education.
Riverside began the event with a pair of fourth-grade girls dressed in colorful dresses, Isabella Grace and Kaylee Fabin, reading from a bound notebook over a powerpoint, showing off their school and all of its features and functions.
The girls talked about how the Kiwanis Club recognizes “terrific kids” monthly and how the West Virginia University Extension Agency perform nutrition lessons, as a few examples. They also touched on how the school has programs like Jumpstart, Doctor Seuss Day, Multicutural Week, March of Dimes, Energy Express and so on.
After the girls’ presentation, Riverside’s 13-student choral group performed for a packed house. With standing room only in a new extension of the school, the students performed a pair of animated songs with an emphasis on hand gestures, “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Respect,” not to be confused with Aretha Franklin’s hit.
“Respect,” choir director Charles Henry said, was a song about respecting others and not being a bully.
“It’s about respect,” the children sang. “Check it out!” the girls would sing loudly, raising a fist in the air, with the boys echoing them afterward, “Check it out!”
Both songs were well received, earning a massive round of applause after each one, with Mingo County Superintendent Randy Keathley offering the choir a standing ovation.
After the performance, three young men from WMS presented their school’s powerpoint for the BOE.
Spencer Stogsdill, Ricky Ball and Aaron Banks, eighth-graders at WMS, talked about their school’s clubs and features. They mentioned some of the school’s business partners, like New York Life, Verizon Wireless, Mingo Bottling Company, Bank of Mingo and more. They also talked about how the school’s various activities and clubs, like participating with the Tug Valley Friendship Foundation and the STOP (Strong Through Our Plan) Coalition.
Afterwards, each of the board members gave their thoughts to the crowd about what they had seen and heard.
Mike Carter said that he was impressed at the crowd and that it was “by far the largest I’ve ever seen at an LSIC meeting.”
“It tells me that people care about their child’s education,” Carter said. “I’m looking forward to great things here.”
Stephen “Cheetah” Marcum gave a short motivational speech to the students who were present, especially the ones who had been presenting, telling them to reach for the stars, that it was there for the taking.
“You kids are the future of our county. You kids are number one in this county,” he said.
Orville Messer, Dave Farley, President Bill Duty and Superintendent Keathley all gave positive statements about what they had seen and heard, thanking everyone for their time.
“These are wonderful students who do wonderful work,” Duty said.
“Thank you so much for letting us come into your community,” Keathley said.
The superintendent told the Daily News after the meeting that the community’s support for the school, which will be renamed to Williamson Pre-K through 8, was evident and refreshing.
After the meeting concluded, everyone was invited to participate in a tour around the school and to partake of provided refreshments.
Paula Hinkle-Brown, Riverside’s Principal, showed the Daily News and the BOE the school’s new science labs and gymnasium. She said that the science labs were currently in use by a few rooms and are above where the school’s old gym used to be.
As far as Riverside’s new gym goes, maybe it was second-grader Leah Banks who summed it up best in how students, faculty and the community feel about it.
Running across the basketball court, arms outstretched at her full wing-span with a giant smile across her face, she was asked a question by her principal.
“What do you think of it, Ms. Leah?”
It took her no time to answer.
“I love it!”