June Leffler Published

W.Va. Schools Rewarded For Getting The Most Students And Staff Vaccinated


Students and teachers at 12 West Virginia schools will be recognized, and rewarded, for rolling up their sleeves and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Almost 80 grade schools entered the West Virginia Department of Education’s “I Got Vaxxed” Competition. Four elementary, middle and high schools with the highest percentage of students and staff vaccinated have won $50,000 each.

Gov. Jim Justice, and his English bulldog named Babydog, visited some of these schools Tuesday to award them in person.


Photo courtesy of Gov. Jim Justice’s office.
School administrators at Elkview Middle School in Elkview accept a $50,000 prize from Gov. Jim Justice.

These schools are Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes, Elkview Middle School in Elkview, Geary Elementary & Middle School in Left Hand, and Morgantown Learning Academy in Morgantown. The governor’s office will release the complete list of winners in the coming weeks.

Andrew Jackson Middle School Principal Rhonda Donohoe said she made announcements encouraging vaccine uptake. Ultimately, Donohoe said her school and neighboring community understood how much the vaccine could change their day-to-day lives.

“The past 20 months have been difficult for students and educators, and all of us were anxious to return to a somewhat normal school year,” she said.

Donohoe said 80 percent of her staff and 50 percent of her eligible students are vaccinated. She says some of the money will go towards field trips, something students have been missing out on during the pandemic.

The funding could also go towards club activities the school hosts every Friday.

“We have clubs that vary from photography to media… We have a tennis club, archery club, robotics, many others,” Donohoe said.

If vaccines help the physical well-being of her students, Donohoe sees these clubs as adding to their social and emotional wellness.

“It’s a time for students to come together with staff members to focus on things that make them happy,” she said. “Help them get along with peers and interact with peers that’s outside of the activities of your English, math, science and social studies. And students really enjoy this opportunity.”