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Pocahontas Eighth Graders Feast and Learn About the World of Jobs

About a month ago, the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau invited the County’s 8th grade students to the 25th Annual Pocahontas County 8th Grade Business Luncheon. This was more then just a free lunch for these students who are preparing to enter high school. The event was held at Snowshoe’s Mountain Lodge Convention Center and resembled more of a business training convention than a school luncheon. The theme of this event had a strong emphasis on careers in the Tourism Industry, which just happens to generate one out of every four jobs in Pocahontas County. Unlike most luncheons, this event began at 10:00 a.m. with a greeting session in the Ballroom where Cara Rose, the Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomed the students. They were also greeted by Patti Duncan, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Snowshoe Mountain Resort and by Luci Mossesso, the WV University 4H Extension Agent.

Then the break-out sessions began, with a 10:30 a.m. session titled “Over the Mountains and Through the Woods” in which Shawn Cassell, the Public Relations Specialist for the snowshoe Mountain Resort, talked about the upcoming International Mountain Bike Association World Cup and all the tourism the event will bring to the county. At 11:00 a.m., Cindy Sandeno, Amy Coleman Amy Mullins and Kristen Beverage of the Mon National Forest offered the students an overview of the Forest Trades businesses. At 11:30 a.m. students were educated by Timothy Luce of Presidio Studios about how the content of the data they post on their social media can eventually affect both their being hired and possibly fired from jobs in their future in this new age of Social Media. Finally, at 12:05 p.m., Teresa Mullen talked to the students about the PCHS Pro-Start Program she teaches and about the school’s Tourism Club.

At 12:30 p.m., the students, as well as visitors attending including parents, business leaders and school faculty, were treated to a formal lunch in the Ballroom. Many of the students wore upscaled attire to the event, like they would to a real business convention luncheon, and they looked sharp. Following lunch, Patrick “Cully” McCurdy of the National Wild Turkey Foundation talked about the origins of the Wildlife Act. How Wildlife is protected and supported by hunting and fishing license fees, and about how the National Wild Turkey Association went about restocking wild turkeys in West Virginia and across the nation. He said they quickly learned that when you breed turkeys in captivity then release them into the wild, those birds would have no fear of people, especially hunters. Those birds would offer little challenge for hunters. To restock a truly wild turkey, they had to devise ways to net capture wild turkeys in areas where they were plentiful and release them into areas where there were no or few wild turkeys. By doing this for many years, the State of West Virginia is now abundantly stocked with wild turkeys.

McCurdy also talked about bear populations. He said that bears have been thriving in the state. He said that the recent Mountain Bear Study, tagged and tattooed over 2800 bears. He explained that tags can be knocked off, but lip tattoos are permanent.  McCurdy said each bear needs to consume 20,000 calories a day.

Following the presentation, the students were verbally quizzed on what they had learned, with winners receiving door prizes.

To get a feel for how the students felt about the luncheon, we interviewed Haley Spencer a student at Marlinton Middle School.

Did you enjoy the eight Grade Luncheon?

“I really did enjoy it” Haley answered. “It’s definitely not what I expected. I expected to come and just be in lectures all da. It was actually very enjoyable. I learned about all the educational opportunities and job opportunities throughout Pocahontas County and how tourism affects our economy today.”

Is there anything really great that you learned from it?

“I learned more of what out county has to offer and more things you can do to be involved in our county that I didn’t even know even though I have lived here my whole life. I did not know that these things existed in our county.”

Anything that you would like to add?

“It was a very great opportunity to have and it was very enjoyable” said Haley. “I got to meet some business people from our county and got to experience a whole new side of our county and everything there is to offer.”

Great, you will be going to high school next year?

“O Yeah!!!”

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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