Education

Sissonville High’s Donna W. Young Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston (March 6, 2003) – Donna W. Young credits her decision to teach to two women in her life. “I am blessed with having had wonderful role models in the fields of teaching,” she says. “My grandmother was a teacher for many years in a one-room schoolhouse in Virginia. She was also a midwife and a mountain medicine woman. As a young child, I would spend as many vacation days as possible there, soaking up her knowledge.

However, Young’s mother was her greatest influence. “She started out teaching in the same one-room schoolhouse,” Young says. “After having five children, she earned her master’s in administration and became an elementary school principal. She was without a doubt the smartest woman I have ever encountered."

Some might say the same about Young. She is one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2003 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by West Virginia Governor Bob Wise; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine; and WVEA President Tom Lange, at a presentation ceremony at the state capitol.

“This year’s ‘class’ of recipients is proof that West Virginia is blessed with many excellent teachers,” says Leer. “We truly believe excellent teachers are the cornerstone of our society and economic vitality. These recipients have experience, expertise and a passion for learning, and they pass it on to their students every day.”

Young teaches art and honors art courses at Charleston’s Sissonville High School. “I have high expectations of my students, not only in their behavior, but also in their ability to create great things,” she notes. “Every year, my students seem not only to meet those expectations, but to exceed them. This is evident by our beautiful displays of art and the numerous awards my students receive.

“I am of the firm belief that students learn effectively when they are engaged by rich and meaningful projects,” she adds. “Therefore, I strive to stimulate students to create using diverse methods of visual expression. Given the chance to solve problems by exercising their creative, visual intelligence, their minds develop the thinking skills necessary for continuous learning in this ever-changing world.”

Young received her bachelor’s degree at Glenville State College, a master’s (+30 hours) at the University of South Carolina, and “gifted” training at the W.Va. College of Graduate Studies. She continues her education through participation in a variety of workshops, conferences and projects. Young further serves her community through active involvement in various church, civic and education-related initiatives.

In addition to recognition, recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive glass trophy and a framed certificate. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education is making a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal is supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and Speedway in program promotion. Arch Coal’s Teacher Achievement Awards is one of the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition programs in the state.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and a supplier of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal exclusively. Approximately 2,000 people are employed at Arch’s operations in West Virginia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.