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WVU President E. Gordon Gee Tours Renovated Wheeling Park High School

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee enjoys time spent in The Overlook school store at Wheeling Park High School on Friday.

WHEELING – West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee likes Wheeling, Wheeling Park High School and the strong students who go to WVU after graduating from WPHS.

On Friday, Gee toured the high school’s nearly completed $22 million renovation project.

He complimented the new entrance, admired the robotics arena, and even took a gander in The Overlook store and the items made by students that are being marketed and sold there.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before,” he said.

School officials presented Gee with a wooden plaque in the shape of West Virginia that can be purchased in the store. The one Gee took back to Morgantown with him for his office was painted in blue and gold stripes.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee holds a blue and gold painted cutout of West Virginia made by students presented to him at Wheeling Park High School on Friday.

“This is one of the academically strongest high schools in the state,” Gee said of WPHS. “What they are doing now in terms of developing creative programs is just amazing. I’m so pleased we have a great high school in this city.”

Gee said he really likes coming to Wheeling because of the quality of students WVU receives from the area.

“Wheeling Park has a great academic atmosphere,” he said. “Forty-two years straight they have won the speech and debate contest – I was there when they just won.

“It has a great reputation. The students are serious, but they also have a lot of fun. It’s kind of like a university in terms of balance. They work smart and they play smart. That’s a great balance, and a great characteristic for a high school.”

And WPHS students who go to WVU also “are very well prepared” when they get there, according to Gee.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee enjoys time spent at Wheeling Park High School on Friday.

“The students here obviously have a lot of options in their academic program, great teachers and a great principal,” he said. “Most importantly, they have a strong academic curriculum here.”

West Virginia University hopes to get a large number of students from the Wheeling area, and everyone needs to continue their education and learning beyond high school – even if it’s not at WVU, he continued.

“We love Wheeling. We love the high schools here, and we want to make sure Wheeling is West Virginia University territory,” he said.

“I want all students to go out and have some form of higher education, and I would love for them to come to the university. But I want everyone to know education is their future, whether they go to community college, technical college or the university. We need them to continue their education. Secondly, we want them to stay in West Virginia.”

A major challenge to the state is maintaining its young minds , Gee continued.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, center, greets Wheeling Park High School seniors Kailynn Saunders and Grant Schehl while touring the school on Friday.

“It’s our own fault. We’ve exported coal, gas and talent,” he said. “The reason the talent is leaving the state is we have not provided the types of jobs we should have provided.”

Now the university and the state are working very diligently to create a great atmosphere for students to stay here, he added.

“We’re creating a lot of jobs, and that’s going to make a lot of difference,” Gee said. “West Virginia is blessed to have great talent. We have as many geniuses here as they do in California. We just need to keep our geniuses here.”

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, center, greets Wheeling Park High School seniors Stephanie, Ebarb, Kailynn Saunders and Grant Schehl and Principal Meredith Dailer while touring the school on Friday.

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, left, greets Wheeling Park High School Principal Meredith Dailer while touring the school on Friday.

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, left, greets Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller while touring the school on Friday.

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, left, greets Wheeling Park High School government teacher Ryan Stanton while touring the school on Friday.

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