Blennerhassett Middle School teacher receives national award

Photo Provided Lisa Whirtley, a math teacher and student council adviser at Blennerhassett Middle School, has been named the 2018 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the Year by the National Student Council.

PARKERSBURG — A teacher and student council adviser at Blennerhassett Middle School has been named the 2018 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the Year by the National Student Council.

Lisa Whirtley is a math teacher at the school and is the student council adviser. She has taught school 18 years and has been at Blennerhassett for 16.

The award, named after Warren E. Shull who founded the National Student Council, recognizes advisers of exemplary character, leadership of and commitment to young people who encourage leadership qualities in students.

Whirtley said she was both proud and appreciative of the honor. The award was announced during the National Student Conference at Plymouth, Minn.

“Overall, a student’s voice is one of the most powerful tools they have. Providing an outlet for them to exercise and express their thoughts and goals is student council’s most valuable aspect,” she said in her application. “Student council gives voice and experience to the future leaders of our world, and everyone can benefit from participating in it.”

Student council at the school organized numerous projects and programs, including Swim and a Movie, Flag Days to honor veterans and caroling at nursing homes during the holidays. Whirtley, named Teacher of the Year in 2014 for the school district, is executive director of the West Virginia Association of Student Councils.

“The best way to describe Ms. Whirtley, as a teacher, is that she ‘brings it every day.’ The ‘it’ reflects enthusiasm, experience, and love for kids and education,” Blennerhassett Principal Melanie Arthur wrote in a nomination letter.

Assistant Principal Jack Waugaman Jr. said Whirtley shows leadership, insight, and patience with student leaders.

“Students who had the good fortune to be elected to student council for multiple years under Lisa’s tutelage moved on to high school well-prepared and well-experienced as leaders,” he said.

Whirtley gets involved with the student activities, too, Alia Ott, 2017-18 student body president at the school, said.

“She always gives her input if she thinks that we might have trouble with something, or gives us some options to help get us going if we don’t know what to do,” she said.

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