One Room University Takes Major Step Towards Offering Classes This Fall

Marlinton, WV – The One Room University project took a major step forward last week when the Pocahontas County Commission and City National Bank signed an agreement that will provide space for college classes in Marlinton. The ORU, using Interactive Video Technology, will allow students to take college level classes without leaving the county.

Tim Quinlan, Senior Vice President for City National says the bank is happy to be part of this new partnership.

“I think one of the things that’s been unique about City National Bank is we try to partner with our local communities” says Quinlan. “Banking in West Virginia has changed just like a lot of our communities have changed. Technology allows us to do a lot of things centrally now that we used to have to have a lot of people to do locally, so we have big facilities. We just don’t’ run out and do things with those big facilities, we try to find good partnership opportunities.”

The ORU is the brainchild of Pocahontas County Coordinator Jay Miller who first contacted Brett Withers, Vice President of City National Bank in Marlinton. Miller thought the upper floor the bank would be an ideal location for a demonstration of the ORU concept.

Another critical partner in the project is New River Community and Technical College. Roger Griffith, Dean of the Greenbrier Campus, says this is a unique opportunity.

“One of the things about working in small communities, is people actually care about what goes on in those small communities” says Griffith. “It’s been demonstrated by the [Pocahontas] County Commission, the Board of Education, High Rocks, the [Snowshoe] Career Center; most importantly the people of the community to bring something like this here. Without the support of the folks here, there’s no way that we could in this [sic] economic times do what we’re doing.”

In fact, Griffith says due to word of mouth about this project, he’s already been contacted by two other counties in the state about launching similar pilot projects. Commissioner Martin Saffer says he’s excited to see this long sought after idea, become a reality.

“This is a new venture in education bringing college opportunity home to Pocahontas County and extending in turn the reach of our citizens out into the world” says Saffer. “I thank everyone here for their shared commitment to the importance of education for community success. As the poet William Yeats said of education It is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’; this is the excitement that I feel today.”

The initial classes starting in the two year pilot project will begin in the fall of 2011.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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