John Marshall High School Celebrates 50 Years

Photo by Matt Saxton Marilyn Wehrheim, far right, leads a group of former John Marshall High School employees on a tour of the high school Saturday during the school’s 50th reunion celebration. Wehrheim is a counselor at John Marshall and has worked with Marshall County Schools for 34 years.

GLEN DALE — When John Marshall High School opened its doors in 1968, Bill Hinegardner was there.

“It was unique,” Himegardner said of the school during its inaugural year. “It was well done, well put-together and well-organized.”

Hinegardner worked for Marshall County Schools from 1965-1999. He was one of dozens of former and current John Marshall faculty and staff members who gathered at the high school Saturday to celebrate its 50th year.

He also was one of the few original staff members present.

Hinegardner taught math at the former Moundsville High School before becoming a guidance counselor with John Marshall when it opened. He also was the head wrestling coach and was an assistant football coach for football, track and baseball.

“This is a great school,” he said of his former workplace. “It really is.”

Although Hinegardner grew up in Fayette County, several John Marshall faculty members always had called Marshall County home.

One of those is John Miller. Miller was a 1964 Moundsville graduate who went on to receive his undergraduate degree from West Liberty University before joining his alma mater as a teacher. He left for two years to earn a master’s degree from West Virginia University, and then returned to teach math at John Marshall for 38 years. Miller now serves as the Marshall County Schools board’s president.

“We invested a lot of our lives in educating young people here,” he said. “There are a lot of success stories.”

John Marshall was formed when Moundsville, Sherrard and Union high schools consolidated. Brenda Coffield, who started at John Marshall as a secretary in 1985 and worked at the school for 25 years, said one of the reasons the district decided to build John Marshall is that the other schools had run out of room.

“They had to go to school in shifts,” Coffield said of Moundsville, which is her alma mater. “I learned a lot about the secretary’s office, because (during those shifts) I worked three periods a day in there.”

Coffield, who became a school board member in July, said the Glen Dale school building also gave the district a centralized location for students. Union was in Benwood, while Sherrard was in the unincorporated community of Sherrard along W.Va. 88 between Wheeling and Moundsville.

As secretary, Coffield said she remembers how she would see everyone who would come and go through the halls each day.

“I knew every custodian, every aide,” she said. “You knew everyone.”

Saturday gave former faculty members who hadn’t roamed those halls a chance to see how the school looks today. In 2017, John Marshall completed a $37 million renovation project.

Coffield said it also gave them a chance to catch up.

“This was home,” she said. “It is wonderful to see all the friends and co-workers. These are really all family.”

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