Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:14PM - 619 Views
Bernard Kerik Grand Central Political

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Staff Writer

A Logan County man who left a career in broadcasting to become a leader for youth was awarded the Distinguished West Virginian by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The governor gave the award to Bill France to recognize a career that reached out and touched so many others.

The Distinguished West Virginian award was created to honor those who have contributed significantly to West Virginia or West Virginians and have brought positive attention to our state.

His career path has taken him from journalism to entertainment to education.

France said the award came as a surprise.

“I don’t win awards,” he said. “I am very honored.”

France is a Language Arts teacher at Logan High School, and heads the school’s Drama Department. He said the he learned about the award as his students were preparing to stage the play “How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying.”

“I was already nervous about the play,” France explained. “It was a huge deal, I didn’t know what to say.”

Bill France left a 25 year career in broadcasting to become an educator. He is also a mobile DJ. Through DJing he has represented the state at numerous functions and events. He has volunteered his time and energy for local, state and national organizations. He also re-wrote and directed the local historical drama, The Aracoma Story.

France is active with organization such as Relay for Life, the March of Dimes and Special Olympics. He has a DJ business, and creates events for youth in the Logan area, he said.

“There isn’t a lot going on around here, especially in the summer,” he said. “I like to have dances and things to keep them busy.”

The teacher also helped LHS get their in-school television station going.

France explained he made a lot of connections during his time in broadcasting, and those people have been a help to him in his work with in the school and the community.

“I made a lot of connections, during my broadcasting career, grant partners, business partners and people,” he said. “Knowing those people helps me now. For example, we needed some wireless microphones, and I called a coal company who only asked how much we needed for new mics.”

But France is quick to give credit to his students for his success.

“Yes, I do some extra things, but its worth it,” he said. “The kids make it worth it, my students are so awesome, they work so hard. We have fun, but it is rigorous, they learn a lot.”

France graduated from Logan High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and his Master’s degree from West Virginia University.

The award says Bill France was named a Distinguished West Virginian “For outstanding achievement and meritorious service. The State of West Virginia hereby recognizes your exceptional accomplishment and confers this commendation in your name.”

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