May 8, 2014 – Meeting Roundup – West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind
The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind were established by an Act of the Legislature on March 3, 1870. The School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind offer comprehensive educational programs for hearing impaired and visually impaired students respectively. There is also a unit for deaf, blind and multihandicapped children. Students are eligible to enroll at the age of three. They must also be residents of the state of West Virginia and exhibit a hearing or visual loss sufficient enough to prevent normal progress in the usual public school setting. The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are located on a campus in Romney in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Locally, the schools are referred to simply as The D&B School.
Both the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind are supervised by the West Virginia Board of Education, supported by the state of West Virginia, and fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools at the elementary and secondary levels.
The idea to establish a school in West Virginia for the deaf and blind began in 1869 or early 1870. Professor Howard Hille Johnson of Franklin, himself blind, was instrumental in bringing a school for the deaf and blind to West Virginia. During his youth, Johnson had attended the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia. Shortly after West Virginia’s statehood, Johnson recognized the need for such a school in the state and he began canvassing the state, gathering support for his project. Several towns including Romney, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg all lobbied to have the school located there, but Romney was selected following an offer consisting of the buildings and grounds of the Romney Literary Society’s Romney Classical Institute. The Romney Classical Institute had lain dormant since the American Civil War when its libraries’ volumes were destroyed and its campus was left beyond repair.
On March 3, 1870, H. H. Johnson’s dreams became a reality when the West Virginia Legislature approved a measure calling for the creation of the West Virginia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. The school opened on September 29, 1870 with thirty students, twenty-five deaf and five blind students. Through the years, additional buildings and grounds have been added to accommodate increasing enrollment. Currently, the main campus consists of sixteen major buildings, containing approximately 302,000 square feet (28,100 m2), situated on seventy-nine acres of land.
On May 17, 1916, Helen Keller visited the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind.
Patty Meyers will tell us more about this wonderful resource that is located in our part of West Virginia.
The Foundation serves the entire state of West Virginia. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, the service area includes Allegheny, Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties. This four-county area is a natural connector between Pittsburgh and West Virginia and contains rural communities that may benefit from the Benedum Foundation’s experiences in West Virginia.
The foundation has funded 7,800 grants worth over $410 million with an average of $13-15 million awarded each year.
Answer to last week’s question:
The board of directors is the governing body of the individual club.
This week’s question:
Is the decision of the board of directors final?
Layne Diehl brought two guests—Meshea Poore, a member of the House of Delegates who is running for Congress; and Gale Poore, who has a career in Social Services. Charlotte Norris, chair of the Promise Neighborhood Initiative of the United Way, was a guest of Pete Mulford. Elaine Bartoldson brought her son, Mitchell, who is a student at Martinsburg High School and active in the Youth Leadership Association. Jeff Keesecker, who is from Winchester, was a guest of Brian Jolliff. Anita and Larry Cooper were guests of Walt Ridenour. David Poland was back as a guest of his father, Buzz.
Happy Birthday to Walt Ridenour who is 96 years young!
We need $1,000 in donations by this week to help Mora Garay, our exchange student, go with a group out west. Her parents are helping finance the trip as well as our club, but we need individual donations to fund the rest.
Penny Porter’s daughter is seeking books appropriate for children ages 6-9 to be donated to Burke Street School. She will be collecting them this week.
Nominations are being sought for this year’s Women of Distinction awards. Several members of our club have been already been honored.
We need volunteers for the Pancakes for Polio event at War Memorial Park on Memorial Day (May 26th). If you can’t be a flipper or a server, at least consider stopping by and eating some pancakes.
The club won several awards at the District Conference, among them being Best Overall Public Relations. As President Mike was playing golf somewhere, the awards will be presented this week. If you have never attended a District Conference, really give it consideration next year. You can learn more about Rotary than any other meeting you might attend.
Tom Keys won the honor of selling tickets for 50/50 this week. Only 11 cards remain.