The Marlinton Middle School National Junior Honor Society held an induction ceremony last Wednesday in the school’s gymnasium. Members are, from left: Haylee Smith-Hayhurst, Sydney Puffenbarger, Waylon Lucabaugh, Amanda Burns, Makenna McKenney, Max Ervine, Hazel Riley, Jaylee Doss, Sarah Warder, Rachel Burns, Rayna Smith, Macaden Taylor, Jonathan Valido, Eden Lester, Delania Luikart, Mary Pauley, Bracie Sheets, Haley Spencer and Cassandra Moats. Not pictured: Ethan Armstrong and Ben Dunz. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

By the glow of five candles – representing scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship – the Marlinton Middle School National Junior Honor Society inducted 10 new members last Wednesday evening in a ceremony held in the school gymnasium.

Current members – Rachel Burns, Sarah Warder, Jaylee Doss, Rayna Smith, Hazel Riley, Macaden Taylor, Max Ervine, Jonathan Valido and Makenna McKenney – conducted the ceremony and described the five pillars on which the NJHS stands.

The group inducted Amanda Burns, Eden Lester, Waylon Lucabaugh, Delania Luikart, Cassandra Moats, Mary Pauley, Sydney Puff-enbarger, Bracie Sheets, Haylee Smith-Hayhurst and Haley Spencer and presented certificates to each of them.

Following the ceremony, principal Dustin Lambert addressed the students and their family members with congratulations and encouragement for the future.

“One of the most fulfilling parts of this job as principal is being able to recognize the accomplishments of our students,” he said. “Tonight we take part in one of the most prestigious accomplishments attainable by middle school students. One thing I love most about this honor society is that we’re not just recognizing scholastic accomplishments, but all of the other characteristics that make a good, successful citizen in our society.”

Lambert, who is also site director for Energy Express, said this year’s theme for the summer reading program is Make My World a Better Place – a fitting theme for the induction ceremony, as well.

“I can’t help but think these newest inductees and our current members of the chapter of the National Junior Honor Society are certainly working to make our world a better place.”

Lambert remembered that 16 years ago, he was inducted into the NJHS at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and had his framed certificate with him for proof.

“I still take great pride in being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society at Green Bank here in Pocahontas County,” he said. “I’m asking you to do the same thing. I honestly have no idea where the past ten years of my life have gone to be quite honest with you, but I want to encourage each member of current and new inductees to cherish every moment in your life.”

Along with reminding the students that life is too short to not cherish each moment, he said it is important to remember the people behind the students who make everything possible – the parents and guardians.

“Parents – thank you for allowing Marlinton Middle School to be such a viable part of your child’s success,” he said. “I consider it a privilege, along with the teachers, to witness the maturation of every single student before us and the students in this building. We have amazing things going on in this building.”

One of those amazing things is boasting the highest eighth grade math test scores in West Virginia.

Lambert also encouraged students to take care of their physical health and to make it a priority along with being an outstanding member of the community.

“If you’re not taking care of your physical body, all those pillars right there mean absolutely nothing,” he said. “You can’t fulfill them unless you take care of your body. You’re given one brain. You’re given one heart. You’re given one set of bones. Take care of yourself every single day.”

As he surveyed his students and congratulated them on their success, he reminded them of their potential for the future.

“Keep striving to make our world a better place,” he said. “I believe you just might hold the cure to cancer. I believe that with all my heart. I believe you have the answer to cellphone service for every part of Pocahontas County or at least high speed Internet far better than what we have right now. I believe the answer is right here and we have to nurture that belief in these students every single day. So, parents, keep doing it – keep encouraging them to be the best they can be in our society.”