Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dianna Vargo said students in the district accomplished much this year, and she hopes that success continues in 2014.
The year brought news that Wheeling Park High School's graduation rate increased 18 points over the course of the past four years. School officials attributed the improvement to identifying and assisting "at risk" students when they start high school.
The 92.99 percent graduation rate in Ohio County Schools compares to an 81.39 percent statewide graduation rate in West Virginia, according to figures from the West Virginia Department of Education.
Madison Elementary School students Chrisshia Waitts, left, and Ethan Corvino enjoy a day of learning at the school.
Vocational and career-related education has been cited as a major factor in keeping students enrolled at WPHS, and this year the school will be one of 21 schools in the state participate in the Simulated Workplace Initiative through the West Virginia DEA, Vargo explained.
The program strives to provide students in the WPHS automotive and Pro Start culinary programs with authentic job experiences.
"The goal of the program is to create a simulated workplace, and inspire a strong work ethic," she said. "It's a work-related experience for students that ensures students are trained - a school to work learning experience."
In 2013, West Liberty Elementary was named a West Virginia School of Excellence, based upon student achievement and the instructional process implemented in the school
Bridge Street Middle School was awarded a Fender Music Foundation Grant that provided an estimated $50,000 in musical instruments to the school. Bridge Street Middle School also was a winner in the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils' National Champion Schools campaign, which resulted in fitness center being constructed there and a visit by celebrity fitness trainer Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils.
The WPHS speech team took home its 34th consecutive state championship this year under coach Bill Cornforth.
"We also look forward to speech team winning its 35th consecutive championship in 2014," Vargo said.
"It's a source of pride for our students."
Ohio County Schools boasted many athletic achievements in 2013.
WPHS football player Geremy Paige was named the West Virginia Sports Writer's Association's Huff Award as the state's top defensive player, while the football team won the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 5A Championship.
The WPHS golf team also took home this year's state championship.
And the success of younger student-athletes in the district points to a continued bright future for athletics in Ohio County Schools.
The Triadelphia Middle School girls cross country team won the OVAC Middle Championship at this year's Ohio-West Virginia Middle School Challenge.
"We also look forward to a celebration of the arts in the spring," Vargo said. "Fine and performing arts students will be able to showcase talents during a concert at the J.B. Chambers Performance Arts Center."