Larry Bellorín is a musician from Venezuela, who is seeking asylum in the U.S. He thought his musical career was in the past until he met Joe Troop, a GRAMMY-nominated musician and North Carolina native who introduced Larry to the folk music and traditions of Appalachia, which seemed quite similar to the joropo he played in Venezuela. Their duo, Larry & Joe, is the realization of a dream for both musicians. It’s also a reminder for Larry of what — and who — he had to leave behind.
Jill Stemple, an elementary school teacher from Upshur County, has earned WVPB’s Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes excellence and creativity in West Virginia teachers.
Stemple was honored by WVPB at the Upshur County Board of Education where she was presented with a monetary award, our signature Blenko Above and Beyond blue apple paperweight, a certificate of recognition, and a host of other special gifts made possible by the sponsorship of Advantage Technology.
Stemple teaches pre-K students at Rock Cave Elementary and was nominated by Sandra Kraynok, a colleague and friend who mentored Stemple at the beginning of Stemple’s career. “Thank you for acknowledging the work that West Virginia teachers do,” Stemple said. “My school ‘family’ is supportive. Our teachers work hard to always put children’s learning first. All are deserving of recognition such as this. I am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to work at Rock Cave Elementary with the staff, students and their families.
“I would like to thank WVPB for the educational programming it provides for young children and their families and thank Advantage Technology for sponsoring such a thoughtful program. I would also like to thank Mrs. [Sandra] Kraynok who nominated me; Mrs. [Amanda] Craig, our principal; Dr. [Sara] Lewis-Stankus, superintendent; and Dr. [Debra] Harrison, assistant superintendent; for their encouragement,” Stemple said.
WVPB Education Director Kelly Griffith said it was a pleasure to meet and highlight the work that Stemple does. “Her sweet disposition and dedication to the field is the perfect combination for her young learners. Early childhood development is such a crucial part of a child’s foundation. Any child would be fortunate to be in the care of Jill Stemple.”
Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus, superintendent of Upshur County Schools, was present to celebrate with Stemple for this recognition. “Mrs. Stemple is an excellent example of a teacher who goes ‘above and beyond.’ She is an educator who is very dedicated to her pre-K students at Rock Cave Elementary,” Stankus said.
Stemple served as state chairman for Alpha Delta Kappa’s “The Longest Day” fundraising team for the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association, which recognized her team as the top fundraising team for 2020 and 2021.
Lewis-Stankus is proud of the work Stemple has demonstrated in her career. “Through love and high expectations, she encourages [students] to reach their full potential while building a strong foundation for their educational success. We are very fortunate and proud to have Mrs. Stemple as an excellent educator in Upshur County.”
To nominate an outstanding West Virginia teacher, visit wvpublic.org and look for the blue Above And Beyond apple logo on the right side of the screen.
Master Sgt. Mike Wiley, a JROTC instructor at Monroe County Technical Center, has earned West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Above and Beyond Award for March, which recognizes excellence and creativity of Mountain State teachers.
Kristi Sanders, a reading and math interventionist at North Jefferson Elementary in Kearneysville, Jefferson County, has earned West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Above and Beyond Award for February, which recognizes excellence and creativity of Mountain State teachers.