Choice Bus to visit Upshur County

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia students will receive a firsthand look at what education can bring – at least $1 million over a person’s lifetime if they graduate from college.

The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation’s Choice Bus is a half-classroom, half-prison cell setting designed to show students the power of their choices – choosing to stay in school and pursue their education or choosing to drop out and risk their future. The Choice Bus has impacted the lives of more than two million students in 20 states since it launched in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2008.

The Choice Bus will visit nearly 1,000 students at Buckhannon-Upshur middle and high schools this Wednesday through Friday:

Wednesday- Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School from 8:05 a.m. 3:11 p.m.

Thursday- Morning Student Event at Buckhannon-Upshur High School from 8:05 a.m. 3:12 p.m.

Thursday – Evening Parent Event at Buckhannon-Upshur High School from 5:05 7:55 p.m.

Friday at Buckhannon-Upshur High School from 8:05 a.m. 3:12 p.m.

“The Choice Bus experience allows students to envision two dramatically different futures and sends a powerful message about the value of education,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “The major focus during the presentation is showing young people what education can do for them and how it’s connected to a lifetime of success and earning potential.”

Upshur County School District is sponsoring The Choice Bus visit to Buckhannon-Upshur Middle and High schools. Along with The Choice Bus, each school will receive Learn2Earn and the InsideOut Toolkit. Learn2Earn is a financial literacy curriculum teaching students the impact of financial literacy, staying in school and how this leads to their success. The curriculum includes budgeting, credit cards, loans, savings and other financial tips to help students plan for their future, presented in a voice that’s straightforward and easy to understand.

Each InsideOut Toolkit contains a Teacher’s Guide, a Stay in School Pledge Card and the InsideOut documentary, a 26-minute DVD that exposes the real story of the devastating and lasting effects of dropping out of school, told by those who live with the consequences every day: prison inmates. The documentary and companion Teacher’s Guide has been used in classrooms and community centers in 49 states and Canada and viewed by an estimated 15 million people.

Shanna Parlock, Graduation Coach for Upshur County School District, said, “We are proud partners of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation tools. We know the importance of helping students understand the power of their choices. Choosing to complete their high school education is the best choice our students can make to ensure an educated and prepared workforce for the future. That’s why we believe The Choice Bus truly makes a difference in our schools and communities.”

“Education is the key to a successful life. We need to show every child that they have the potential to pursue a career and make a good living,” said Dr. Shelley Stewart, Founder and President of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. “That’s why we are grateful to State Farm for helping us further our mission to increase the graduation rate in West Virginia and across the nation.”

To learn more about The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation and The Choice Bus, visit

The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the dropout rate. The Foundation was established in honor of Dr. Shelley Stewart’s late mother, Mattie C. Stewart, in the summer of 2007 and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Its primary corporate partner is o2ideas, Inc., a corporate communications and brand relations firm also based in Birmingham. The mission of the Foundation is to create tools and resources to help educators, community leaders and parents effectively address the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate.

The Foundation also partners with Alabama Public Television, America’s Promise Alliance, Communities In Schools, Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates, the National Dropout Prevention Center, PepsiCo, Shelby County, State Farm and Verizon Wireless. For more information, visit