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JCCS honors seniors, students and their families with visits

THANK YOU — Staff and representative of the Jefferson County Christian School in Wintersville showed appreciation to the seniors, students and their families during two days of home visits. Among those on the list was senior Claire Novoski, center, with her parents Shelly and John, and school staff. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Staff at the Jefferson County Christian School found a special way to not only honor its 11 seniors whose normal activities were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the entire student body and their families as well.

The gesture spread across two days, first with the seniors treated to a home visit on May 15.

That was occasion for Interim Administrator Donavon Martin, Principal Sherri Ware, Guidance Counselor Susan Potvin, high school teachers Susan Beadle, Janet Johnson, Ana McGurn and Kathy Martin, development director, to visit the homes of the seniors.

“We delivered their cap and gown, end-of-the-year award certificates and a JCCS graduate yard sign, designed by JCCS senior Jonathan Moller,” explained Kathy Martin. The senior class includes Olivia Chanoski, valedictorian, and Christian Davis, salutatorian, and Jules Clutter, Abigail Dennis, Hannah Miller, Jonathan Moller, Claire Novoski, Savannah Robinson, Preston Schilling, Braden Thacker and Stephan Williams.

“We arrived at the homes with music playing and horns honking. We would present them with their items, pray with them and their families and pose for a socially distant picture,” Kathy Martin noted. “We traveled close to 150 miles throughout the valley, from Wintersville, Wellsville, Weirton and Bloomingdale to Weirton.”

CLOSING OUT THE YEAR ­— Jefferson County Christian School kindergarten teacher Sandy Pine leaves the school with gifts for her students. -- Contributed

A formal recognition of the seniors was held May 26 at the Center for Hope located at the Wintersville United Methodist Church. Near it is the Jefferson County Christian School at 125 Fernwood Road. It is a private, nondenominational Christian school that just completed its 41st year of “offering the area education from a Christian worldview.” It has an enrollment of 180 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

While seniors were visited during the first go-round, all the school’s families came next. On May 23, 12 teams of staff, administration and school board members — Chairman Jim Seabright, Treasurer Jeanette Wise, Secretary Jim Barnhart and member Mike Mantos — visited 104 families. The students received their end-of-year award certificates, perfect attendance certificates and gift cards, principal list and honor roll pins, a bag of candy and balloons. The family, meanwhile, received a certificate of accomplishment for completing remote learning.

“Not only was there a concern that our seniors will not receive a traditional graduation, we also recognized that none of our students were able to participate in their traditional end-of-the-year activities — award ceremonies, field trips and class parties. We wanted to do something special for the entire student body,” Kathy Martin explained.

“We also wanted to do something to salute our families for their effort in the remote learning process so we created a certificate of accomplishment with our school mascot ‘Paws’ wearing a mask,” she continued. “We used take-home packets, Facebook, Google Classroom and an online system of Moby Max to present our lessons. We created a technology help-line and home help-lines as a resource to our parents and students. With the resilience of our families we received very few phone calls after the first week of remote learning. We wanted to thank our families, pray with them and let them know that we are looking forward to seeing them back in the building in August.”

“We wanted to show our families how much we have appreciated their prayers, support and cooperation during this period of remote learning,” noted Donavon Martin, interim administrator. “It seemed best to tell them personally. I believe our staff was encouraged and blessed by the visits as much as the families.”

Parents appreciated the gesture, according to quotes provided by the school. “What an amazing way to start the day,” noted parent Amy Bates.

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