Money being raised to help students

What began nearly 10 years ago as a small golf tournament has grown into an effort to raise $100,000 annually to help Parkersburg High School students.

Members of “Alumni for Athletics” pledge $100 a year to assist students at PHS in participating in sports, cheerleading, band and Red Wings. The nonprofit organization was formed last September.

“It started for fun with a golf tournament (which raised some money for athletic programs) and now has a cause,” said Tom Longmire, a member of “Alumni for Athletics.”

By raising this money “Alumni for Athletics” wants to make sure all PHS students can participate in athletics, music and related activities. Because of a lack of public funding, some children have been prevented from participating in sports-related activities, the group said.

These activities helped to mold the character of “Alumni for Athletics” members, the group said.

A board of directors and an advisory board have been formed for the all-volunteer “Alumni for Athletics” and will approve the allocation of funds. All proceeds will be accounted for by a local certified public accountant, according to the organization’s newsletter.

This year’s Parkersburg Area School Boy Golf Challenge – which will raise money for the “Alumni for Athletics” cause – has been moved from May to Sept. 9. The challenge features teams of golfers from various graduating classes at PHS.

“Alumni for Athletics” has raised about 30 percent of its $100,000 goal so far this year, said Longmire, co-chairman of the School Boy Golf Challenge.

“Alumni for Athletics,” which is looking for new members, can be contacted at P.O. Box 2483, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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Wood County is losing a talented and nice couple.

Jim and Jan Smith are moving this month from Washington Bottom, W.Va., to Charleston, S.C.

Jan started her teaching career at Hamilton Junior High in 1976, instructing in music and choir for three years. She then took a year off to earn a master’s in piano performance and pedagogy teaching.

A 36-year career as a private piano instructor followed. Jan taught hundreds of piano students during this time, primarily in classical music with some pop and jazz.

While attending a training conference last summer at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Jan met the music director at Ashley Hall girls school in Charleston, S.C. The director offered Jan a job as a piano teacher. She accepted and will be teaching this year in South Carolina.

Jim, a retired art teacher in Wood County Schools, was offered a substitute art teaching job at Ashley Hall. He is considering the offer.

Jim Smith taught art at Blennerhassett Junior High for 31 years and at Parkersburg South High School for seven years, before retiring last year. In the summers, he managed the swimming pools at Parkersburg Country Club and DuPont Park.

Jim, who enjoys photography, said he has no definite plans for retirement. Folly Beach, S.C., is only two miles from their new home.

The Smiths’ son, Joel, is a civil engineer in Charleston, S.C. His wife, Emily, was born in Parkersburg and lived here for three years before her family moved. Emily’s father, Chuck Haller, worked for DuPont here. Joel and Emily met at The Citadel in Charleston (where they graduated) – while watching a West Virginia University football game on TV, Jim noted.

Jim was born in Columbia, S.C., and his late father, Jim, worked for DuPont. His mother, Betty, is active at First Lutheran Church in Parkersburg.

Jim and Jan met at First Lutheran Church, where Jan’s father, Gordon Jemison, was the organist.

Many of Jan’s former students attended a reception for her on Mother’s Day at First Lutheran Church. The reception followed a spring piano recital directed by Jan.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com