Governor visits Paw Paw Schools, presents award

by Kate Evans

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice came to Morgan County on Tuesday, October 22 to honor Paw Paw High School as one of the top-performing schools in the state as reported in the Balanced Scorecard Accountability System.

Justice presented Paw Paw Schools Principal Melinda Kasekamp with an award for Paw Paw High School achieving a 100% 4-year graduation rate and exceeding standards for the 5-year graduation rate and also attendance. The presentation came at a k-12 school assembly.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice presents an award to Paw Paw principal Melinda Kasecamp on October 22.

Officials that attended the event were Morgan County Schools Superintendent Kristen Tuttle, state school board member Nancy White, Morgan County School Board president Aaron Close, school board vice-president Pete Gordon, school board member Laura Smith, Morgan County Commissioners Sean Forney and Ken Reed, Delegate Daryl Cowles and State Senator Charles Trump.

Superintendent Tuttle told the crowd that she is proud of Paw Paw High School’s accomplishments with their graduation rate and attendance.

Its staff works tirelessly every day and students work hard. She wanted to make the whole scorecard green (which signifies exceeding standards) and encouraged students saying “I know you can do it.”

Governor Justice praised Paw Paw High School staff and students and noted that they had achieved a graduation rate and attendance rates that were off the charts. Justice said he’d never been to Paw Paw before and that it was special for him to come there.

Justice, who has been a coach and mentor, said that his best days are with the kids and   that “if you can reach out and genuinely touch a life, you’ve done something.”

Governor Jim Justice and Paw Paw principal Melinda Kasecamp.

He suggested that students think about what if they lived to be 100 years old and would be living for possibly 83 more years.

“What you do today is going to impact your life. Now is your chance to dial in,” he said.

Governor Justice said his grandparents on his mom’s side never had indoor plumbing and his dad’s parents had a coal-burning furnace for heat.

“I’m you and now I’m your governor,” he said.

Justice advised kids that “you can do anything you want. Now is your time.”

“You’ve got to reach a little deeper and try a little harder every day. If you end up being a ditch digger, mechanic or governor, be the best,” Justice added.

Governor Justice traveled to Berkeley County earlier that day to recognize the progress of Martinsburg South Middle School in the Communities in Schools program.