Gilbert hosts local high school principals

Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert hosted principals from surrounding high schools for lunch Wednesday afternoon.

“This is something Dr. Gilbert started. He wanted to get to know principals from surrounding schools,” Marshall director of recruitment Beth Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the Office of Recruitment and the Office of the President wanted to use this opportunity to build relationships and thank local school administration.

“It’s really a chance to thank them for what they do in terms of education,” Wolfe said. “We want them to know we’re supportive of them and their students.”

The Office of Recruitment divides West Virginia into territories, each with their own recruitment officer. For this first lunch, Cabell, Wayne, Kanawha, Boone and Putman county high schools were contacted.

“This is a new thing,” Wolfe said. “I am certain this is the first of additional ones we will have in the future.”

Joedy Cunningham, head principal of Huntington High School, said he was excited to get to know President Gilbert better.

“It’s going to build a path between the schools, between secondary and higher education,” Cunningham said. “Now you’re encouraging an open conversation between the two.”

“It starts with: ‘How can we get students to come to Marshall?’ and I think these kind of meetings will continue to figure that out,” Cunningham said.

Despite a small turnout of principals, Huntington High School, St. Joseph Central Catholic School, and Charleston Catholic High School were in attendance, President Gilbert has high hopes for the future.

“I’m really happy to work with you, and now I can spend more time with you individually,” Gilbert said to the three principals.

Wolfe, Gilbert, and the principals laughed and chatted before the meal, conversing over school, the heat wave and Gilbert’s love of cycling. The intimate gathering turned into “a working lunch,” according to Wolfe, as the group began talking about the local schools.

“It’s nice to see President Gilbert being so invested in the community,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said even though there may have only been a handful of people there, that is how progress starts, and next time there may be two handfuls or more.

Brooke Estep can be contacted at [email protected].