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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
March 7, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 7, 2018

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A4 VCednesday, March 7, 2018 NEWS SPIRIT ol JEFFERSON and FARMER S OCATE Katlin Thorsell: 'Proud' after work stoppage Katlin Thorsell, the Washington High agriculture teacher recently selected as Jefferson County's first-ever West Vir- ginia Teacher of the Year, penned this open letter Tuesday to schools chief Bondy Shay Gibson, school board mem- bers and community members: I sit here on the eve of schools opening after a nine-day, statewide work stop- page in our public education system, and I can't help but be proud. Proud to be an educator. Proud to be a West Vir- ginian. But most importantly, proud to be a member of this Jefferson County community. Since Feb. 22, I have seen the outpour- ing of support for our educators, service personnel and public employees from Dr. Gibson, our school board members and community citizens and businesses. Every act of kindness - small and large - has not gone unnoticed or unappreci- ated, and it reminds me why I chose to stay here. Five years ago, I was a half-day ag- riculture teacher at Washington High School. As the school year started to wind down, the uncertainty of my posi- tion caused me to apply elsewhere for a job. I was offered a position in Virginia, teaching high school agriculture and I had a tough decision to make. Did I take a risk that my position at WHS could remain part-time, or take a guaranteed full-time job in a neighboring county? While it seemed like a tough decision at the time, looking back, it was fair- ly simple. I chose to stay in Jefferson Katlin Thorsell County because this is my home. Not home in the sense that I lived here, but more a feeling because of the people I encountered within its boundaries. The same people that supported me when I was a student were the same people who were now supporting the students in our agriculture program and educa- tion system. The comradarie among the teachers and service personnel with- in our schools truly made it seem like I was part of a second family. The sense of togetherness that I felt when I at- tended community events was a feeling I knew I wouldn't find anywhere else. The overwhelming amount of service to others that I observed and participated in was remarkable. These same reasons that made me stay here five years ago are the same reasons why I am writing this letter. I would like to say thank you. Thank you to all of the businesses and commu- nity partners who have donated food, services and time to provide a meal or a place to go for the students of Jefferson County. You have opened your doors to so many children and your service will never be forgotten. To the students and residents of Jefferson County: Thank you for honking your horn, pulling over to hand some food out your window and making your voice heard at the rally points. Your kind words and servant ac- tions have provided a lifeline for those involved in this movement. To Dr. Gibson, Mr. [Scott] Sudduth, Mrs. [Kathy] Skinner, Mrs. [Laurie] Ogden, Mr. [Gary] Kable and Mr. [Mark] Osboum: Thank you for fielding relent- less communications and never faltering in your support of our Jefferson County Schools staff. I know that I would never have the fortitude to be in your position and make the decisions you make day in and day out. This movement is about more :than a pay raise and better insurance. It's about having a voice and fighting for what you believe in. It's about never giving up when the odds are stacked against you and being a part of something much larger than yourself. I know tonight teachers and ser- vice personnel are putting the finish- ing touches on their lesson plans and ac- tivities for tomorrow and are more than excited and grateful to be back in the classroom with the students they love and cherish. While the time has passed, what has not changed is the commitment that we have to changing the lives of our students. Hopefully, this movement has taught not only our students, but this community, the power of being united, sharing our voice and supporting each other in times of need. Jefferson County, thank you for mak- ing home more than a place and more like a feeling because of those we are surrounded by. We are #55strong and I am #JeffersonProud. Boat/RV/Cllmate Control We'll beat any Charles Town or Ranson storage facility by $5/mo! 165 Philip Avenue Charles Town, WV 304-724-7867 Professional Realtor Top producer since 1992 304-724-0711 Direct Line Broker M. Margie Bartles "Making My Client's #1 Goal My #1 Goal" Long a Foster Realtors 91 Saratoga Drive Charles Town, WV 604 Hunter St CharlesTown, 25:414 S tS CHARLES TOWN- Scott Sudduth, the president of the Jef- out of school, the businesses that donated food to our employ- ferson County school board, on Tuesday shared an announce- ees at the rally sites, or the truck drivers and countless others ment celebrating that teachers, school service workers and who honked their horns in solidarity, this community respond- hundreds of thousands of students across West Virginia would ed loudly in support of our teachers and service personnel. return to their classrooms today. And, while the community was loud; there was no shout- The letter also is signed by board members Kathy Skin- ing. There was honest, emotional, thoughtful discourse and ner, Gary Kable, Mark Osbourn and Laurie Ogden. some disagreement. But there was no bullying, nor finger Their message - pointing. The citizens of Jefferson County practiced civil dis- The last two weeks have been a trying time for our commu- course. Think of the positive lessons in democracy our stu- nity in so many ways - uncertainty about when our students dents learned! would return to class, juggling to find - and afford- childcare, And, finally, our state government listened. and wondering what the Legislature would do. But, the con- This effort has not been without hardship but civic engage- stant throughout this uncertainty, was the strength, solidarity ment is our collective responsibility. The community is prov- and civility of our community, ing that voices do matter. And your Board of Education is Our teachers and service personnel took a necessary and grateful for the strong support the citizens of Jefferson Coun- courageous stand. And you had their backs, ty continue to show for the value of public education. This is Whether it was the volunteers who packed lunches for kids what truly defines a great community. 1] [I "Whether it was the volunteers who packed lunches for kids out of school, the businesses that donated food to our employees at the rally sites, or the truck drivers and countless others who honked their horns in solidarity, this community responded loudly in support of our teachers and service personnel." I SCOTT SUDDUTH I The Jefferson County Museum will celebrate the beginning of the 2018 season with a FREE, public reception on 1 to4 p.m. NEW EXHIBITS FOR 2018: Four African American Artists from Jefferson County:. Deadra Bryant, Stephen "Lucky" Luckett, Sandra Mclver and Lois Payne CLICK! CLACK! DING! Typewriters from the collection DO-RE-MI: Musical Instruments from the collection PH: 304.535.1313 196 HIGH ST OPEN 7 DAYS AWEEK HARPERS FERRY