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"Mrs. Lemasters", as she was so fondly called by all of those students who were lucky enough to have her as a teacher, will be remembered by all as a "no-nonsense" kind of teacher. She is shown above in a picture from the 1940s, one from the early 2000s, and one from the alumni banquet as the 2005 SAA Honored Faculty Member.

She wore many hats during her 25 years as a teacher at Pine Grove/Valley High School. One of the roles that she filled with such proficiency was that of Junior Class Advisor and Prom Coordinator. The entering Junior Class at VHS knew that the entire burden of putting on a successful Prom Weekend was on their backs. Back "in the day", the production of a successful Prom was no small feat. The Robert C. Byrd Center did not exist and the only place to hold such an event was the gymnasium…however, for Prom, the gym should not look nor smell like a gym. That's where Mrs. Lemasters came in. After the Juniors chose the theme of the Prom, they orders dozens of rolls of crepe paper and Kleenex tissues in the Senior Class colors and began the long hard week of transforming the gym into some magical place. Mrs. Lemasters did not want one small inch of anything resembling a gym to peek through any of the Prom decorations, so that meant all of the junior boys got busy hanging wire and chicken wire while the girls began covering the ceiling and walls with crepe paper. There was no loafing as the students were actually getting out of class for an entire week and Mrs. Lemasters was right in there cracking the whip the entire time. Nobody left the gymnasium until the work was completed. By the time Mrs. Lemasters and her kids were through with decorating efforts, the gym really did not look like a gym. It's hard to believe that the students worked as hard as they did in hanging that crepe paper and stuffing those Kleenex in the chicken wire…but that was what Mrs. Lemasters wanted and she was so well respected by her students that that's what she got.

One might wonder where all the money came from for Prom - another successful role that Mrs. Lemasters completed with the expertise and timing of a military drill sergeant. At the beginning of the junior year, a massive magazine subscription sale began and those sales basically funded the entire Prom and Jr./Sr. Banquet. The community really seemed to support the magazine sales because they weren't bombarded with fund-raising projects back then by other school groups. Decorations and funding were not the only part of the Prom Weekend that Mrs. Lemasters had to take care of...she was also the musical director. Being an accomplished pianist and choir leader for the Reader Methodist Church, she often brought together the musical skits that the juniors performed at the Banquets. The Proms and Banquets under her guidance were full-scale productions and consisted of a musical play or skit presented from the juniors to the seniors during the Banquet, which was also held in the gym.

Although she is also fondly remembered for being "The" World Culture teacher, she also was a great Physical Education and Health teacher for the girls. When you completed a year of P.E. with Mrs. Lemasters you were in shape. There was no messing around in her class. For her class, street clothes were not allowed. At one time, gym uniforms were provided, but if not, proper gym clothes and shoes were expected. At the beginning of each class a line was formed and roll was called. Students did not set out unless they had a very good reason. Some of the activities that girls were required to exhibit proficiency in were the trampoline, the balance beam, the parallel bars, the horse, and the rings. Mrs. Lemasters did not allow horseplay on this equipment, but instead, had a regimented routine that each student had to practice and test off on. Students in her classes also played games that have fallen by the wayside in today's gym classes, such as, Crab Soccer and Dodgeball. One highlight of her P.E. class was when they brought the boys class in and we all learned square dancing together, such as the Virginia Reel and other Western square dances. After each class, a shower was required before putting your street clothes back on. This was often not a pleasant experience for awkward 7th & 8th grade girls, but we were all treated equally and nobody got to skip. When the girls were not in the gym, but rather in Health class we all learned about proper hygiene as well as limited sexual education. It was really considered a right-of-passage to get to view the "childbirth" film in the 8th grade under Mrs. Lemasters watchful eye - there was no giggling allowed. Back then, that was probably the first time most of us had seen anything remotely close to it - there was certainly nothing like it on the 10 or 11 television stations we had to watch. She never pulled any punches when informing us about proper hygiene either - she always believed that cleanliness is next to Godliness and that nobody was too poor to buy a bar of soap. She will always be remembered as one of the favorite teachers that ever passed through Valley High.

Her obituary as it appeard in the Wheeling News-Register: LEMASTERS, Sara June, 88, of Reader, W.Va., died Saturday, March 8, 2008, in Golden LivingCenter, Morgantown, W.Va. She was born June 29, 1919, in Mannington, W.Va., the daughter of the late Orval and Elizabeth Hinerman Koon. She was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, Reader, serving as pianist and singing in the choir for many years. she graduated from Pine Grove High School in 1936; and received a degree in secondary education from West Liberty State College in 1940. She retired from the Wetzel County Board of Education, where she taught at Pine Grove High School from 1942-1944, 1947-1951, and at Valley High School from 1963-1981. June loved to travel and was fortunate to do so throughout the United States. She was especially fond of mountains and waterfalls. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John “Kert” Lemasters, on July 20, 1998; one brother, Dwight Koon; and one sister, Lorraine Koon. Surviving are two sons, Chuck (Dianne) Lemasters of Jacksonburg, W.Va., and Bryan (Christina) Lemasters of Reader; two daughters, Jeanne Lemasters of Morgantown, and Teresa (Bill) Wayne of New Martinsville, W.Va.; seven grandchildren, Sara Denny (Ryan) Finnerin, David (Suzanne) Lemasters, Daniel Lemasters, Steven (Jessica) Lemasters, Travis Wayne, Michael Lemasters and Mitchell Wayne.

Iris Wright, 93 years old and currently a resident of The Woodlands, Texas, looks forward to every edition of the Wetzel Chronicle. She was a resident of Pine Grove for close to 70 years and is probably the oldest living graduate of Pine Grove High Class of 1934.



This is a drawing of an "older" Lumberjack done by VHS Class of '67 Alumnus Suzanne Hull Skrzypek. Lots of alumni can identify more with Mac since he has a little bit more gray hair and is not quite as lean as the school's official mascot! We're not as young as we once were! The Class of '67's planning committee plans on using his image for their 40th Reunion festivities.

2006 Gun Raffle Winner!

We have a winner! The drawing for the Remington 7mm-08 rifle with synthetic stock was drawn at our meeting on November 10th, 2006 at Barb's Country Cafe. Shown helping Debbie Lippincott and Ron Horner draw the winning ticket in the photo above is Nicolas Dulaney
of Wheeling Island, grandson of Sharon Dulaney, Wetzel County Circuit Clerk, who was dining in the cafe during our meeting.

Charlotte Coen Hamrick of New Martinsville was the lucky ticket holder.
Charlotte graduated from VHS in 1982. She is shown above receiving the gun from Doug Dulaney, also a VHS Alumni, of The Trading Post in Pine Grove, WV. Thanks to Doug for providing the gun and to all of you that supported us by purchasing a ticket. We did very well and will use the proceeds for next year's Alumni Weekend.

The following appeared in the November 29th issue of the Wetzel Chronicle:

Gordon L. Wright, a graduate of Pine Grove High School in 1960 and West Virginia University in 1965 has received the Outstanding Alumni Award for 2006 from the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources of WVU. In receiving this award, Wright was described as exemplifying the highest ideals of leadership, integrity and professional dedication to the oil and gas industry. He retired from CMS Nomeco Oil and Gas Company in 1998 where he was president and chief executive officer. His career spanned the globe by being involved in the search for oil and gas on six continents. He now owns Gordon L. Wright Petroleum Consultants located in The Woodlands, Texas, where he resides with his wife Susan Akers Wright, a member of the first graduating class of Valley High in 1961. He is the son of the late Irvin R. Wright of Pine Grove and Iris J. Wright, who now resides in The Woodlands, Texas.

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the December 20th edition of the Wetzel Chronicle:
To the Editor: I would like to thank V.C. Fankhouse, the principal of Valley High School and the teaching staff there from 1958-1962, as well as my two fourth and fifth grade elementary school teachers, Etta Beckley Haught and her brother, Harvey Haught. The above teachers instilled in me the need to follow the Bible: seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given, knock and it shall be opened to you. The teachers were called to perform above and beyond the call of duty, because my father, Harold E. Streets, was needed for his responsibilities elsewhere, when I was 11 years old. At that time Etta E. Haught opened my eyes and ears for what was to come for me in the very near future. I dropped out of the first semester of my freshman year of high school because of a family move. I came back to the “valley” and began the long hard push, but with great steady hands. In 1964 I enlisted in the defense of our country, which continued for 39 years, 11 months, and 10 days. I established the knowledge and the love for the defense of our country in our three children. All three of them joined: my daughter served nine years, one son served 11 years, and one son is still in active duty with 18 years already served. After four years in Germany, in the 1970’s my wife of 40 years, Margalith, and I established three operating businesses in the District of Colombia: landscaping, building maintenance, and a day care center. The landscaping and day care still operate. After 30 years of service to the best-known agriculture center in the world in Beltsville, Maryland, I finally retired. I was then accepted the invitation to serve as a state representative on a bi-partisan committee, and I continued to serve on various government boards, and as a volunteer on many organizations. The point of what I have written is that my training was left up to two teachers at Four Mile Elementary School and the Principal at Valley High School. I think they did a good job. Sincerely, Thomas D. Street Silver Spring, Md.

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