Midland Trail senior reacts to school decision as Fayette County weighs the options for graduation

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – When Midland Trail Senior Class President Austin Simms walked out of the school on March 13, he, along with his fellow seniors, was not emotionally prepared for what was to come. 

“I did not realize it was going to be my last day walking through those halls with everybody else and with all my teachers, but I will remember March 13th as my last day and the day I really didn’t get to say goodbye,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Governor Jim Justice announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the year.

Despite this news, Siims is encouraging his classmates to hold their heads high and is encouraging the county to still have a graduation ceremony later on in the summer.

Although there are no concrete plans yet from Fayette County Schools, Superintendent Terry George says there are two contingency plans in the works. 

“We’ll have two plans that we send to the state: One for a virtual graduation at the time when it really should take place, and then we plan to try and hold a formal commencement service once the conditions allow that to happen this summer,” George said. 

George says although he was disappointed, especially since it is also his last year as superintendent, he understood why the governor had to call off school.

Now as seniors like Simms hope for some form of closure, Simms wishes he could have one more day with his teachers, principals, and classmates at Midland Trail. 

“Coming out those doors that last time not even knowing it was our last time, it just hit me pretty hard yesterday and I will admit, I had to wipe some tears, but I just wish them the best and not only my senior class here but everywhere,” Simms said.  

The board met with senior class presidents and principals this afternoon to further discuss their plans.

Terry George did say that students will continue to be fed for the duration of the calendar year.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.