Mountaineer raises morale at Williamstown Elementary

WILLIAMSTOWN – The West Virginia University Mountaineer brought a little West Virginia pride to Williamstown Elementary School Tuesday.

Jonathan Kimble, the WVU Mountaineer, spent the morning at Williamstown Elementary meeting with students. He spent 40 minutes with two groups of students (pre-K-second grade and third-sixth grades) in the gymnasium.

The tours are nothing new to Kimble, who said he made more than 400 appearances last year and is slated to visit seven elementary schools this week. Kimble has been to 46 of the state’s 55 counties as the Mountaineer.

Kimble, a first-year graduate student in industrial and labor relations and sport management from Franklin, is in his second year as mascot for West Virginia University.

Kimble talked about his outfit and quizzed the kids about its contents. He also talked about being nice to teachers and students, avoid making fun of others and bullying.

Bullies don’t get to go to West Virginia University, he said.

“They have to go to Marshall or Pitt,” he teased.

Kimble asked students if they knew his victory dance.

“Is it the The Sprinkler?” a second-grade girl replied.

Kimble said he does push ups, noting he did more than 365 after the Mountaineers football game against Kansas (a 59-10 victory).

Kimble also posed for photos – with students and teachers – and signed autographs, including a few shirts. He closed by leading students in a “Country Roads” sing-along.

School system officials can’t recall the last time the Mountaineer mascot visited a Wood County school.

Williamstown Elementary School Vice Principal Linda Brunicardi said one of the student’s parents grew up in the same town as Kimble.

Krystal Kerby, a substitute teacher in the Wood County school system with kids at Williamstown Elementary, grew up in Franklin and knows Kimble. She contacted the university to set up a visit.

Kimble was impressed that kindergarten students greeted him with a serenade of “Country Roads.”

“They knew all the words,” he said.