Pocahontas County Teacher of the Year Brooke Dickenson addresses the audience at the Super Scholars Ceremony Monday evening at Pocahontas County High School. Dickenson is a teacher at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Each year, the academic achievements of Pocahontas Coun-ty students and the excellent efforts of both teachers and service personnel are celebrated at the Super Scholars event at Pocahontas County High School.

On Monday evening, superintendent of schools Terrence Beam once again took the mic and welcomed community members, parents and achievers to the celebration.

“This year, we have a hundred and sixty students recognized as Super Scholars,” he said. “We’re real proud of our kids and all the hard work they do. It’s one of the highlights of the year for me to get the chance to recognize these kids. A lot of times, we have to spend too much time dealing with the negative things instead of the positive. Tonight is a hundred percent positive.”

During the ceremony, the Teacher of the Year and Service Employee of the Year nominees were recognized.

In the Service Employee of the Year, an individual in each service – bus driver/mechanic, custodian, aide, cook and secretary – is selected for the award. This year’s nominees were: bus mechanic Ian Bennett; custodian Pam Bennett; aide Tonja Armstrong; secretary Joann Estep; and cook Tina Jackson.

The Service Employee of the Year was Marlinton Elementary School secretary Joann Estep.

Teacher of the Year nominees were: Hillsboro Elementary School, Diane Delfino; Marlinton Elementary School, Pam McCurdy; Marlinton Middle School, Jessica McLaughlin; Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Brooke Dickenson; and Pocahontas County High School, Stephanie Poppe.

Green Bank Elementary-Middle School principal Ricky Sharp introduced Brooke Dickenson, the school’s and county’s Teacher of the Year.

“This person is a crucial part of our staff and is loved by literally everyone,” he said. “When we received the formal announcement… Jennifer [Chestnut] asked the staff to send in a list of words that they would use to describe this person’s character. The staff easily listed over fifty words, all positive, to describe this candidate: happy, kind, energetic, caring, compassionate, friendly, thoughtful, committed, bubbly, dedicated, genuine, a team player, willing to go the extra mile, big hearted and outgoing.”

At the end of his introduction, Sharp shared a short film created by the staff and students at GBEMS titled, “Where is the Teacher of the Year?” The film featured a student detective who searched the school high and low, with a happy ending when she finally finds Dickenson.

In her speech, Dickenson thanked all the people who helped her become the teacher she is today.

“Starting with Mr. [Joe] Riley,” she said. “Thank you for opening the doors to my first job in Pocahontas County Schools at Marlinton Middle School. I was terrified to work with middle schoolers, but you and your staff helped me find my love for that age group. To the staff at Marlinton Middle School that year, thanks for teaching me everything they didn’t teach me in college about working in a school.

“Karen McCoy, thank you for taking care of me my first year,” she continued. “You showed me that secretaries are truly the heartbeat of every school.”

After one year at MMS, Dickenson transferred to GBEMS, where she has taught for seven years.

“To everyone at Green Bank, you are my second family,” she said. “You have built me into what I am today. I am extremely fortunate to work where my roots are planted with the staff that consists of my former teachers, friends and family. The middle school staff at Green Bank, you guys are incredible. I love working with you. You keep me going with your support, confidence in me and Dr. Pepper.”

Dickenson also recognized principal Sharp, who has always gone along with her “schemes,” and her students, who have kept her going with schemes of their own.

“Mr. Sharp, thanks for always agreeing to my shenanigans, such as taking pies in the face or going down waterslides for a picture in The Pocahontas Times. To my students who have knocked a few years off my lifespan and possibly given me a few gray hairs, you are the reason I love my job nonetheless. To the parents of my students, thanks for supporting me and trusting me with your children.”

Dickenson closed by thanking her family, close friends and her boyfriend, Brandon Nottingham, who is always there to give support and be a personal maintenance man when her classroom is in need of repair.

“To everyone who has crossed my path through this amazing journey, thank you,” she said. “On a closing note, St. Francis de Sales said, ‘bloom where you are planted,’ and I am so blessed I get to bloom here in beautiful Pocahontas County.”
Students were also honored Monday evening for their achievements. Golden Horseshoe Winners, Aidan Madison, of MMS, and Hunter Curran, of GBEMS, were recognized, as well as the Pocahontas County Board of Education student representatives, Pocahontas County High School seniors Hunter Tankersley and Hunter Wilfong.

Each school principal recognized the students from their schools who were named Super Scholars.

Hillsboro Elementary School principal Rebecca Spencer – third grade: Molly Cook, Riyan Gladwell, Kenslee Lane and Asa Marks. Fourth grade: Ramona Hardy and Aylah Manahan. Fifth grade: Hannah Beverage, Mallori McCoy, Kaylee Pritt and Trevor Tuskan.

Marlinton Elementary School principal Philip Anderson – third grade: Raegan Alderman, Carter Faulknier, Allison Fitzgerald, Gavin Jordan, David Reed, Anthony Bennett, Kaidence Cutlip, Leanne Green, Trenton Harwell and Tanner Smith. Fourth grade: Nolan Street, Gabriel Dean, Luke Gainer and Gavin Malcom. Fifth grade: Devon Burgess, Miya Johnson, Abigail McClure, Riley Pollack, Caleb Ritter, Eden Smith, Courtney Waugh, Dillon Dunz, Kirsten Friel, Shaylee Landis, Brooklyn Moyers, Ryleigh Parker and Addisyn Waddell.

Green Bank Elementary-Middle School principal Ricky Sharp – third grade: Amber Defibaugh, Haley Moore, Allyson Taylor and Thomas Arbogast. Fifth grade: Florian Baudler, Trenton Brock, Miranda Gum and Willie O’Ganian. Sixth grade: Mileya Bircher, Ashley Bussard, Madeline Ray, MacKenna Shinaberry and Olivia Vandevender. Seventh grade: Grace Beverage, Max O’Ganian, Emma Riffe, Emily Rimm and Mason Solliday. Eighth grade: Hunter Curran, Makayla Ervine, Iam Johnston and Makayla Vandevander.

Marlinton Middle School principal Dustin Lambert – sixth grade: Jessica Armstrong, Kyalily Barb, Cameryn Boggs, Hannah Burks, Clayton Burns, Elizabeth Friel, Jordan Faris, Taiylor Hoke, Timothy Shifflett, Lacey Stewart and Kynlee Wilfong. Seventh grade: Amanda Burns, Christy Casey, Jaryd Friel, Braedan Hayhurst, Kassidy Long, Waylon Lucabaugh, Robert Pritt, Sydney Puffenbarger, Haley Spencer, Jazzlyn Teter, Samuel Williams, Danielle Yingling and Michelle Yingling.

Eighth grade: Allyson Alderman, Ethan Armstrong, Benjamin Dunz, Maxwell Ervine, Nathaniel Evans, Daphne Hilleary, Delania Luikart, Makenna McKenney, Cassandra Moats, Maxine Puffenbarger, Ruyan Robertson, Gareth Ryder, Bracie Sheets, Rayne Smith, Haylee Smith-Hayhurst, Macaden Taylor, Sarah Warder, Jonathan Valido, Rachel Ames, Rachel Burns, Jaylee Doss, David Gibb, Eden Lester, Mary Pauley and Hazel Riley.

Pocahontas County High School principal Joe Riley – ninth grade: Sienna Bircher, Brandon Burns, Emmalee Dean, Cassidy Hardesty, Chloe Hardesty, Emily Henderson, Autumn Lane, Glenn Wilt Malcomb, Savannah McMillion, Jennalee Meck, Hadden Mick, Silas Riley and Maria Workman. Tenth grade: Kira Bircher, Brody Buzzard, Tasia Davis, Kylian Dennison, Faith Johnson, Alexandra Lane, Vinicius Lorena, Charity Morrison, Kelly Pyne, August Starks, Alexa Taylor and Charity Warder.

Eleventh grade: Noah Barkley, Sydnee Butcher, Peyton Coleman, Ben Davis, Jacob Jones, Jarod Liptrap, Brianna Morgan, Brandon Puffenbarger, Jocelyn Sharp, Mathias Solliday, Taylor Tegtmeyer and Logan Woodruff. Twelfth grade: Elijah Colt Beverage, Marley Brust, Katie Gibson, Jeremiah Grimes, Cora Hedrick, Jacob Hise, Caitlyn Keatley, Laura Leyzorek, Meggan Long, Briana Mills, Mary Grace Rich, Catlyn Sparks, Hunter Tankersley, Briar Wilfong, Charles Hunter Wilfong and Dylan Workman.

A follow-up article will feature the Teacher and Service Employee of the Year nominees as well as photos of the Super Scholars.