WPHS Speech Team Lauded

Madison Elementary School guidance counselor Jessica Laslo is West Virginia’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year for 2014, and she and members of the state champion Wheeling Park High School speech team were among those honored by the Ohio County Board of Education on Monday.

A large crowd turned out as the board convened its regular meeting at Middle Creek Elementary School. Board President James Jorden said the West Virginia School Counselor Association selected Laslo for the honor based on her standards for high conduct, leadership and implementing innovative programs in the school.

Former Madison Elementary principal Nikki Kacmarik and current principal Walt Saunders were among those in attendance to applaud Laslo.

“She offers services at our school that are not offered elsewhere – and they are needed,” Saunders said.

School board members also presented WPHS speech team coach Bill Cornforth and assistant coaches Kayla Nelson, Joshua Fromhart and Lori Mathieu with trophies of appreciation following the team’s 35th consecutive state championship last week in Morgantown.

Seniors Karen Laska and Blake Humphrey addressed the board, telling the county’s educators the success of the speech team wouldn’t be possible without the support it receives from the school board and Ohio County Schools staff.

Representatives from Mountaineer Boys State presented Humphrey with a plague honoring his achievement as being the state’s senate representative to Boys State/nation last year.

Board of education members also recognized WPHS swim team coach Patrick Durken for being West Virginia’s boys swimming coach of the year. Durken is also a physics teacher at WPHS.

The Ohio County Board of Education next meets at 6 p.m. on March 24 at the school board office.