MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia First Lady Cathy Justice visited the Eastern Panhandle to expand the Communities In Schools Initiative.

The program began last fall and aims to address student and family needs while encouraging kids to stay in school, graduate high school and prepare for life after school.

The three-year pilot program is active in three counties in southern West Virginia and is now seeing positive feedback from its launch in Berkeley County.

Justice said the initiative is about helping kids in the classroom.

Elias McMillan/WV MetroNews

First Lady Cathy Justice speaking in Martinsburg.

“We just want to make everyone’s live better and we want their school situation to be better,” said Justice. “Then when they graduate from school, we want to help them towards a job that they can fulfill and feel good about themselves.”

Participating schools in Berkeley County include Orchard View Intermediate, Eagle School Intermediate, South and North Middle schools.

Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon said there is room for the program to expand in the county.

“It should be in every school, not just in Berkeley County, but every school in West Virginia,” said Arvon. “We’re thrilled that First Lady Justice selected Berkeley County to be one of the pilots.”

Martinsburg High School head football coach Dave Walker was a guest speaker at the event along with members of his state championship team.

He encouraged the students to stay in school and to surround themselves with positive influences.

Story by WEPM’s Elias McMillan. 

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