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COMFORT — Celebrating West Virginia was the theme on the morning of Oct. 14 as students at Sherman Elementary School gathered outside for live music after a talk in the gymnasium from Mrs. West Virginia America Cydney Fields.

The public was encouraged to attend the event at the school that featured vendors, food and entertainment — including a performance from Sherman Elementary students.

“We are just very excited for today and the students are really prepared and enjoying the atmosphere,” said Principal Lisa Lowe as she scurried outside to assist her teachers.

The event was organized by teachers Jenny Ellis and Sydney Burnette.

“I wanted the students to have the time to take some pride in our state and really understand where they come from and the opportunities that they could benefit from here,” said Ellis. “We basically wanted to focus a week of learning on that.”

She added, “As a staff, we came up with some activities to really have fun with at each grade level and enjoy learning about our state.”

Ellis stressed that the Sherman Elementary staff pooled ideas to come up with an itinerary full of learning that was “fun.”

“I feel that the students learn to work as a team and get some real-life experience learning what they can do outside of school,” said Ellis. “They are sharpening their map skills, exploring different professions they could pursue. For example, fourth-graders focused on coal mining.”

Burdette sees the event as a unique opportunity for educators to step outside of a daily routine and educate through a different process.

“Some of the kids didn’t understand that West Virginia is the state of the city or town they live in as well as the county, so it really provided an opportunity to really show them where they live and make that clear using a map,” she said. “It gave us a chance to dive into social studies, science and art.”

Local author Missy Griffith read to students during the event.

The event celebrated local business and artists. Both have been receptive to the idea.

“We’ve received a good response and I feel that covid does affect how many could be here, but we really wanted to focus on local, handmade things,” she added. “We wanted to focus on community people and what they have to offer.”

The organization for the event was one that was a group effort, stressed Ellis and Burdette.

“That is the thing about teachers, we dig in where we are needed,” Burdette concluded. “So many came together to make it possible.”

Musical performers included Wyatt Hill, New Foundation, Brandie Wells & Josh Holstein, Danny Petit and Matthew Thomas.

Food vendor participants included V-Mart (pizza), Bully’s BBQ, Tropical Snow, school-made pepperoni rolls, teacher-made baked goods and overall assistance from the Sherman High cheerleaders.

Other vendors included Laurel Hollow Candle Designs, Little Bit Creations, GrayElle Designs, Appalachian Crafts, Anna Rose Jewels, Mak Designs local author Missy Griffith and more.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at 304-307-2401.

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