The April winner of the Jan Dils Attorneys at Law Golden Apple Award was a popular win among the student body. The children prepared signs and banners for the winner in advance of the Tuesday Morning Announcement. Jack Waugaman, a 7th-grade math teacher, was named the April 2017 winner. It didn’t take long to see why this win was so popular. His dedication goes far beyond the classroom. Mr. Waugman should really be awarded a medal for getting young people excited about math. However, it’s his passion for the subject that spills over to the students. We were told that Jack often drives his students to math competitions on his own so that they may compete. We also learned that one of his students will soon be competing at the national level.
Jack was nominated by the mother of a couple of former students. She stated that even though they are no longer in his class, Mr. Waugman still keeps in touch with them. We also learned from his nomination that he stays after school to help his students, and he even gives up his weekend sometimes to help them prepare for competition. Great work Mr. Waugman! Thanks for everything you do.
On Tuesday, March 28th, 2017, team Jan Dils went to Criss Elementary to hand out the March Golden Apple Award. This award, like several over the past few years, was special because the teacher is set to retire at the end of the school year. This time the deserving educator was Ms. Kristi Miller of Criss Elementary. Ms. Miller has been a teacher for over 30 years, and in that time, she has touched many lives.
We will often state that the Golden Apple winner goes above and beyond, but this case, the phrase is especially true. Ms. Miller run several programs at the school, including Dr. Suess Day and Science Day. Some parents also noted her generosity, stating that she has even bought musical instruments for students. Over the summer Kristi keeps in touch with her students by sending them greeting cards.
When Ms. Miller’s name was announced, all of the students erupted with joy. As they exited the gymnasium every student stopped to look at her plaque and her new bracelet. Making the event more special was the presence of Ms. Miller’s family. It was nice to see her celebrate with them.
Every Golden Apple Award Winner is deserving, but it’s always special when the winner is retiring. Congrats to Kristi Miller for three decades of service, and for teaching countless young minds in that time. We wish you the best in retirement.
The February 2017 Jan Dils Golden Apple Award was awarded to Courtney Clark of Warren Local Schools. Clark is the band director for both Warren High School and Warren Middle School. Clark was praised for being dedicated to his student and his ability to teach new techniques to the band. In addition to music techniques, he also tries to teach his students compassion, inclusion, and respect and tries to make his students feel like they belong.
In late January 2017, the PHS Fieldhouse was packed with students anticipating the next Jan Dils Attorneys Law Golden Apple Award. Since its inception more than a decade ago, Parkersburg High has only had one teacher claim the honor, and that occurred late in 2016. Repeat schools are nothing new to the award, but for an institution to have two winners so close together, they’d have to be stellar. That was the case when we announced Lori Zyla was the winner.
Golden Apple Award winners often wear multiple hats, and Zyla is no different. She is currently the Theater teacher and she is also the Speech and Debate Team coach. Both roles keep her busy long after the last school bell rings on Friday. Between Speech Tournaments, Theater productions and competitions, Mrs. Zyla goes above and beyond with her students.
It should come as no surprise that Lori was nominated by one of her students. Mrs. Zyla is an inspiration to her students and the entire school. This was obvious by the applause she received as her name was announced. It’s teachers like Mrs. Zyla that make us proud to sponsor the Golden Apple Award. Keep up the great work Lori!
December can be a difficult time for the Golden Apple Award. Often, we aren’t able to present it to a deserving teacher during the month of December because of snow days, and the long Christmas break. That was the case this year. The benefit is that we get to visit two schools in the month of January. On Tuesday, January 24th, the Jan Dils team present the December Jan Dils Attorneys at Law Golden Apple Award to Morgan Trout of Waverly Elementary School in Waverly, WV.
While this was not the first time a Golden Apple Award has been presented to a teacher from this facility, we have not visited the small school in several years. While Waverly is one of the smaller schools in the area, they are not short on heart. One benefit of a smaller school is the sense of community everyone has, and how teachers really impact all the students. That’s one of the reasons that Ms. Trout was not just praised by students of her own grade, but really the entire student body stopped to congratulate her. We later learned that Ms. Trout recently started an after-school tutoring program, a first for the school.
Ms. Trout is new to the area, but this happens to be her fourth-year teaching. She mentioned that she loves teaching, but that is also a very demanding job. Parents happen to love her, though, and many of her colleges state that she often goes above and beyond for her students.
Ms. Trout is a very deserving teacher and we appreciate her dedication to her students. We can’t wait to award the January 2017 Golden Apple Award next week.
Four the 5th consecutive year the Jan Dils Team hosted a dinner honoring Veterans. Our annual event was held on November 10th at the Parkersburg Knights of Columbus. Originally a cookout, the event changed to a spaghetti dinner in 2015, and the tradition continued for 2016. The changes were made to accommodate poor weather conditions, and to make our guests more comfortable. 2016 was by far the biggest and most popular event to date. Over 250 individuals showed up to take part in the spaghetti dinner.
In 2016 the event expanded. This expansion was due in large part to community partners. O’Brian’s Catering of Ripley supplied sauce for the event. Our friends at the Parkersburg Knights of Columbus played host, and as always, did an excellent job. In addition to our attorneys and staff, we also had members of the Jackson Middle School National Honor Society in attendance to assists with our guests.
While the Spaghetti was a big hit, attendees were equally as excited for their chance to win prizes from our raffle. Several local businesses donated items for the raffle. Proceeds from the dinner benefited the Jan Dils Attorneys at Law Walk4Vets Foundation. Since 2011, the Walk4Vets foundation has donated more than $60,000 for local Veterans Charities. This year, the Walk4Vets foundation selected Operation Transportation as the beneficiary of the funds from the dinner. Operation Transportation provides Bus Passes for Veterans in need in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The dinner raised just over $1,000 for the local cause.
We love working with Veterans, and this is one way in which can give back to those who give so much.
Special Thanks to our contributors, donors, and everyone who made this event a success
For the past couple of years, we have had the pleasure of working with the United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley. This past summer the United Way approached us with an opportunity to participate in a program called Little Free Library. We value education at our firm, and one of our core values is continuous improvement. We were excited to participate but wanted to learn more about the program.
Started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, the Little Free Library program is simple while at the same time brilliant. The program started with just one location, a small schoolhouse-shaped box on a post at the front of Mr. Bol’s yard. His neighbors loved it, and soon multiple locations popped up all around his community. The news about this unique idea spread quickly. There were a lot of people wanting to participate and grow the network. In 2011 there were 400 Little Free Libraries in the United States, and as of November of this year, there were 50,000 units. We are proud to say that our firm sponsored one of those Little Free Libraries.
So, how does it work? It’s actually quite simple. Little Free Libraries are made from recycled materials. In many cases, they are made to look like a small school house. However, in situations like ours, an up-cycled newspaper box serves as the LFL. The boxes are then given fresh paint and new decorations to make them look unique. The United Way acquired our box, and several others, from the Parkersburg news and Sentinel. Ours was painted to reflect our firm’s work with Veterans. It’s decorated to look patriotic. Inside you’ll find several books. Our books were donated by the United Way. Our Little Free Library was placed in Jackson Park in Vienna, WV. Individuals are welcome to take a book whenever they want. When they finish reading, they are encouraged to return the book for someone else. Citizens are also encouraged to donate books to the LFL. Our firm also brings new books from time to time as well.
The Little Free Library is a great way to make books available to more people across the nation. The team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is proud to help in this effort. The mission of the LFL organization is “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity, and wisdom across generations.” It’s something we can definitely support.
On November 11th, team Jan Dils attended the annual Veterans Day Parade in Parkersburg, WV. We look forward to attending this parade above all others each year. Our community does a wonderful job supporting our Veterans and the turnout for this parade is always great, even though the weather isn’t always cooperative.
One change to our entry this year was the inclusion of our friends from the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Veterans Corps. We have worked together with these amazing young Veterans for several years. Many of you may remember that the Veterans Corps were the most recent recipients of our Walk4Vets fundraiser. Since 2011, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, has raised over $60,000 for Veterans Charities in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
This year, we entered the parade with a classic Cadillac convertible from the 70’s and a team of about 20 employees. We handed out candy, pinwheels, small American flags and other great items to those in attendance. Along the route, we met many Veterans. One of the highlights was our placement in the parade. We were near the end of the lineup. This meant that we were placed near one of the high school marching bands. The atmosphere was extremely patriotic. We had a blast and can’t wait to participate again next year.
For over four decades, Mr. Thomas Godwin has taught students in Wood County. On November 29th, he was recognized for his accomplishments. Godwin, an AP Chemistry Teacher at Parkersburg Catholic High School was selected as the November 2016 Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Golden apple Award winner. Nominated by his principal, Godwin was selected for his years of service, and his dedication to his students. His nomination also mentioned that he takes the time to prepare his students for college. Mr. Godwin also spends his own time after school helping students who may be struggling with science and will help students who want to enter his class who may not be ready.
At the ceremony, we were surprised to learn that Cheryl Wingrove, the representative from our firm who presents the award, was a student of Mr. Godwin’s when she was in the 10th grade. She felt honored to present him the award.
Congratulations Mr. Godwin, we are lucky to have such a wonderful educator in Wood County.
School is back in full swing, and that means the Jan Dils Golden Apple Award has returned! We are proud to announce September’s winner, first grade teacher Lori Mendenhall, of Belmont Elementary School.
Her hard work and dedication earned her the award, and she said she felt honored and blessed to be nominated.
In her 15th year of teaching, Ms. Mendenhall’s love of children and working as a team first inspired her to become an educator. She believes the job requires a lot of heart and kindness and advises those new to the profession to remember that the kids placed in their class are meant to be in there.
She encourages new teachers to be dedicated, set regular goals and to be a positive example in their students’ lives.
Congratulations, Ms. Mendenhall! We are grateful for all you do for our local youth!
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, handles personal injury, Social Security disability and veterans’ disability claims for clients throughout West Virginia, with offices in Parkersburg, Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, Logan, as well as one additional office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Regardless of where you are located, we are able to serve you or a family member nationwide.