The Barbour All-County Sports Organization recently celebrated the reinstatement of middle school sports in the county, acknowledging students, businesses and organizations for the role each played in achieving that goal.
The event took place Friday evening at the Philippi pool.
Barbour County citizens banded together after a January decision by the Barbour County Board of Education to eliminate middle school coaches in the face of budget constraints. Parents and community members quickly formed the Barbour All-County Sports Organization and worked on many fundraising events to raise the $34,195.43 needed to rescind the board's decision to cut the coaches' positions.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Barbour County students gather Friday at the Philippi Pool to celebrate the successful reinstatement of middle school sports in the county. Members of the Barbour All-County Sports Organization sponsored the celebration for the students and recognized organizations and businesses for their contributions, which helped the group accomplish their purpose.
In April, Lori Talbott Wetzel, president of the BACSO, presented members of the Barbour County Board of Education with a resolution outlining the organization's donation for middle school coaching salaries.
Members of the Barbour County Board of Education unanimously agreed to accept the resolution, which was signed by board President Bob Wilkins. The BACSO presented the board with a check for just over $24,000. A private donor paid the remaining $10,000.
On Friday night, Wetzel had a few more presentations to make - she gave organizations and businesses donating more than $1,000 a certificate and a free pass to any of the home Barbour County Middle School athletic events. Those recognized were Del. Mary Poling, D-Barbour; Philippi Shop 'N Save Express; Belington Shop 'N Save Express; Laborer's International Union of America; Angel Investor Marketing; Davis Health System; Johnson and Associates; Myers Clinic; Doward Matlick; Robert and Joanne Valentine; Mace's Pharmacy; Good Samaritan Center; and Simmerman Law Offices.
Wetzel said she is so happy the group met their goal.
"When we had the first meeting and everyone came together, it was great," Wetzel said. "We had a Facebook page and word spread and people cared and helped. I could not have done this without everyone's support. There were lots of times when I worried, but Robin Pumphrey and Tammy Austin helped me get through. We did this for the kids and are so glad they will have the opportunity to play sports in middle school next year. We hope the Barbour County Board of Education will take over the responsibility for this the following year."
Pumphrey said knowing middle school sports are back is a relief.
"Sports helps the kids with academics. We live for sports in my family - from basketball camp to football camp to swimming. My four boys love sports. A lot of the kids we know helped with this initiative. I am honored that the two coaches walked to Ohio to raise money and awareness. What they gave went over and above what we expected."
Student Jordan Haller is excited that middle school sports will be available in Barbour County next year.
"Before, when I heard middle school sports were out, I felt like there would be nothing to do," Haller said. "Now it feels great - sports are important and keep kids out of trouble. It also helps us keep our grades up. If there were no sports, our academic scores would not be as good."
Kirsten Wetzel plays basketball and volleyball in Barbour County.
"I was kind of upset when I heard that we would not have middle school sports," Wetzel said. "I didn't think I would be able to play again. I am glad my mom became the president of the Barbour All-County Sports Organization. She really wanted me to be able to have the opportunity to play sports. She had faith we could get enough money and save our sports."
Kinsey Price is a cheerleader.
"I didn't feel good when I heard we would not have sports in this county," Price said. "I wanted to cheer and I wanted a team to cheer for. It's good we will have sports next year. I didn't doubt they could do it. I participated in the basketball tournament and helped out at Shop 'N Save to raise money."
Kristiana Cline plays basketball in Barbour County.
"I am glad we will have sports next year because it helps me stay in shape," Cline said. "It also motivates me to keep up with my grades. Sports helps keep everyone's spirits up in school."
Cline said she went to every fundraiser for middle school sports and walked the first three miles during the One Step At a Time fundraiser.
"I think it is wonderful they walked, and it made me feel good that they cared so much," Cline said. "I had no doubt that the Barbour All-County Sports Organization would raise the money to keep sports. They were fantastic."
Contact Beth Christian Broschart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.