Pocahontas Students Receive Motivation & a Great Meal at 8th Grade Business Luncheon

On Thursday, March 10th, the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau teamed up with the Board of Education and Snowshoe Mountain Resort to put on the 28th annual Eighth Grade Business Luncheon at the Snowshoe Mountain Lodge. The overall theme presented to the Marlinton Middle and Green Bank Middle School Students was to widen their eyes to see what lies in front of them as they begin high school next year and in their futures beyond that. . Representatives of many area businesses attended the luncheon, sitting with and conversing with the students, while enjoying a great roast chicken lunch provided by the resort.  Although time prohibits us from presenting all of the great information passed on to the students, we will give you a few key points made by each speaker. There were three break-out sessions: by Mikey Vlach of Snowshoe Resort, Cynthis Sandeno of the Mon Forest, and Chelsea Faulknier of the CVB. The Keynote Speaker was Danny Flores, a business entrepreneur in Marlinton.

Mikey Vlach told them about job opportunities here.

“What I’d like to tell you guys, there are some good jobs in Pocahontas County,” said Valach. “I think there’s this persona that there’s no good jobs in Pocahontas County and you can’t make a good living here. That’s completely wrong, I have a good job and I live here.”

Cynthia Sandeno talked about bats and a career as a Wildlife biologist.

“We need to help bats, and they need our help,” said Sandoval. “A lot of people think bats are scary. Try to educate people and talk about why they are so important….I started my career as a Wildlife Biologist, and that is just somebody who studies animals in their habitat. To be a Wildlife Biologist, you definitely need a minimum of a Bachelors Degree, a Masters is really recommended. And the things you need to focus on – science, math, GIS is a really critical skill, and then communications skills – writing and being able to talk to people and in front of people is extremely important, and I know when I was in the 8th grade, that was the last thing I wanted to do.

Chelsea Faulknier talked about the value of volunteering

“So why should you volunteer?” asked Faulknier. “Aside from just feeling good about volunteering your time, volunteering hours are extremely crucial for you guys as you start to think about high school and different organizations you may want to apply for. I know National honor Society applications require you to have some kind of community service volunteer hours. And then as you start to look at college applications, or maybe you’re like ‘college isn’t for me, I want to go straight to the work force, well you’re going to want to have on your resume volunteer service hours that set you apart. You are going to create connections with adults and folks who are maybe going to be mentors to you or maybe they could be your potential employer one day.”

Danny Flores, the owner of the Old Mountain Tavern provided a motivational talk about achieving success.

“I challenge you today, and every day, to be the best version of yourself.” Said Flores. “Set goals. A goal is only a goal when it is written, measured and reviewed. Set your goals, achieve your goals, and always strive to be the best version of yourself. The truth of the matter is you can be whatever you want to be. It doesn’t have to be what your mommy or dad is. They will follow and respect what you want to do. But, all I ask you is take this information. And if you do it, do it the right way. You are only as good as your habits, ok, so if you have bad habits, you’re going to have bad results. You guys understand that? Your habits create who you are.”

We also asked Tristen O’Stein, a student at Marlinton Middle School to tell us what he liked about the presentations at this luncheon.

“The presentations today were pretty nice,” said O’Stein. “Mikey Valach’s presentation was like very interesting, very detailed. I liked the bats too; the bats were pretty interesting as well. I think it is interesting that these people grew up in this county, fell in love with it, and made it their job.”

If most of the students enjoyed the program like Tristen did, the luncheon was a great success.

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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