An aerial photo was taken by the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from Georgia who used the beautiful campus of Wayne High School last summer for their final practice before their Drums Across the Tri-State competition at Laidley Field in Charleston.

The aerial view shows the campus of two schools nestled among countless miles of our beautiful West Virginia hills. This same view shows the boundaries of the schools: Twelvepole Creek and railroad tracks that have served the community throughout centuries. The athletic fields, which are easily identifiable, show the green grass of the outfields and a hundred manicured yards of grass at the football stadium. The color aerial photo shows the entire campus; it shows "the bigger picture."

If this same picture had been available between the years of 1877-1959, it would depict a county farm, with a county cannery (which is still standing on the campus today). A place where the community came together to plant, farm, harvest and can food for the winter months. A place where friends were like family; a place where differences were set aside and men and women alike worked for a common goal. A place where pride for oneself was replaced with pride in the community. When the farm was demolished and the land excavated to start the "new school," the community worked together to ensure it happened.

The original Wayne High School began in 1922 where the community center sits today, and the "old high school," as it has often been referred to, was completed in 1924-25. By 1960, the community had grown, and it had outgrown the "old high school" on the hill and a new one was needed. At this same time, societal changes were happening and the community farm was no longer a manner of livelihood; thus the current Wayne High School was begun.

Since 1922, Wayne High School has gone through many changes: Once referred to as Wayne County High School, the word "county" was dropped as other schools were established and thriving in the county; the school colors that were once blue and gold were changed to red and black; and the buildings and grounds have continued to grow and change, with the most recent renovation being completed in 2016.

As one looks at this aerial photo, one must see the "bigger picture." Since 1922, there have been thousands of students, teachers, administrators, cooks, custodians, parents and amazing volunteers who have had the honor and privilege of building this school, and since the 1960s those same groups have had the same honor and privilege of building Wayne High School on the current campus. This past summer, there was much controversy regarding the possible renaming of Pioneer Field/Pioneer Stadium for a specific football coach. As a principal, former teacher, 1985 alumna, and a member of a family with four generations of alumni, I felt that the name should remain Pioneer Field/Pioneer Stadium, which honors everyone. Since the moment that God created these hills in our community to the present day, there have been too many individuals who have had an impact on our school to single out one to name a field/stadium.

As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, may God bless this school nestled among these West Virginia hills with HIS grace and protect it from harm/violence. May ALL Pioneers, past, present, and future revel in its history, its success, help celebrate its wins and help it learn from its defeats. May ALL Pioneers continue to visualize the "bigger picture" and in doing so practice tolerance, acceptance, understanding and kindness.

And, to ALL Pioneers from those starting school for the first time to those graduating have a safe and successful school year.

Sara Stapleton is principal of Wayne High School.


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