Participants in Energy Express: front row, l to r: AmeriCorps members Michelle Murphy, Melissa Murphy, Katie Gibson and Casey Griffith. Second row: Lillie Cassell, Claire Kelk, Natalie Irvine, Layla Highland, Sadie Alderman, Joshlynn Burgess, Colton Cassell, Waylon Burdette, Tyler Faulknier. Third row: Mackenzie Green, Carter Faulknier, Lexie Burdette, Aiden Jordan, Kane Miller, Ronald R.T. Hill, Madalynn Landis, Hailley Hoke, Levi Hill and site supervisor Dustin Lambert. Back row, cook and custodian Sherri Howe, Cecilia Friel, Avery Friel, Payton Friel, Heather Hayes, Reagan Friel, Sydney Puffenbarger, Joshua Davis, Gavin Jordan, Devon Burgess.

Marlinton Elementary School was booming with excitement this summer as AmeriCorps members brought Energy Express to the community. The six-week program focused on reading, writing, noncompetitive recreation, art, drama and nutrition. Themes for each week included, myself, family, friends, homeplace, community and make my world a better place.

Students were provided breakfast and lunch family-style with their mentors and spent approximately 3.5 hours a day engaged in print rich activities that captivated the individual expressions of each child. At the end of each week, students received a free book to take home which served as the read aloud for a particular theme.

MES is one of 87 Energy Express sites statewide. This year, the MES had four outstanding AmeriCorps members who provided the instruction and guidance required in the program: Melissa Murphy, Michelle Murphy, Casey Griffith and Katie Gibson.

Casey is starting her fourth year as a math major at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia. She plans to teach secondary math upon graduation in the spring.

Katie will be starting her college experience at Potomac State College in Keyser, where she plans to study early childhood education. Her long-term goal includes opening a daycare.

Michelle and Melissa are both starting their third year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, as elementary education majors. Both mentors want to return to Pocahontas County to teach in two years.

Along with the mentors, Dustin Lambert, MES principal and site supervisor, led the team in fulfilling the program’s goal of “Getting Things Done.”

“Each mentor established an incredible bond with their students,” Lambert said. “This is the first step in gaining the attention and respect of children as a teacher. As all four mentors are aspiring educators, this will serve them well.”

The program concluded on July 27 with the team completing their community service project as the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network. Teen Volunteers and community members have made the program a huge success this summer.