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Good morning. I am the principal at Scott High School, which has an enrollment of approximately 550 students and is located in Madison, West Virginia. Our rural county for the past several years has been devastated by the drug epidemic, specifically the spread of the opioid crisis, and a struggling economy, specifically the decline of the coal industry. Although we have a long way to go, it seems we are starting to make headway in solving both problems and reviving our communities.

Educationally, Boone County Schools has implemented the AVID program — AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination — to help create a college- and career-ready culture for all students in all grades. Our goal is for all of our students to graduate with a plan and a path for post-secondary education and success.

A strategy that has proven effective in other AVID schools nationwide is the use of visual stimuli to produce a college-going culture, specifically something that reinforces the mission and renews the vision each day. An example of this is displaying college pennants, which is why I am writing this post today.

I contacted all of the major conferences in college sports last week and asked them to donate standard-sized pennants for all of their member schools to help us create a college- and career-ready commons area in our school, where all of the pennants will be displayed along with inspirational quotes and murals.

We are a low-socioeconomic school. It would cost us thousands of dollars to purchase a pennant for every school from every conference. We simply cannot afford to do that, which is why I humbly requested that the conferences donate the pennants to us free of charge. However, most of them declined my request or did not respond at all. That is why I am turning to the fanbases from each conference to see if there would be a person or a group of people from each school that would be willing to donate a pennant to our project. As I told the conferences in my emails to them, I know that is a big request, but I also know it will be an even bigger investment in our students and their futures, and I promise you the return on your investment will be well worth it.

I will post photos of the final product on social media (we hope to complete the project during the 2022-2023 school year), and I will publicly recognize and thank everyone who donated.

If you are willing to donate a pennant to our project, please contact me at mjmesser@k12.wv.us.

Thank you all for your consideration and, hopefully, your contributions.

Dr. Jacob Messer

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