SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Jefferson High School Vo-Ag trainer Charity Marstiller laughed that there have been instances rising up in northern central West Virginia that she wished she had a brother.
“Growing up, it was just myself and my sister. We helped my dad and my grandpa do everything on the farm. There were no boys, so you’ve got to take the farm labor you have. I often wished I had a brother, but that didn’t happen,” she laughed. “I learned a lot helping my dad and my grandfather on the farm, doing everything from building things, constructing a fence to helping with cattle and pigs and chickens and animals, being outdoors, hunting, all those things. But also, since my dad was an agriculture teacher, as a little kid, I followed him, along with his students, watched them do activities and competitions. You could say it’s in my blood, but I learned a lot watching them. I guess I’ve always found it very interesting.”
It’s these classes that make Marstiller the particular person and trainer she is at the moment, following in the footsteps of her father, who was an agriculture trainer for 47 years. It’s these classes that she brings to the classroom every single day and helped her earn the title of 2022 Jefferson County Teacher of the Year.
Marstiller’s roots run deep in agriculture and agriculture education, laughing that not solely did her dad go down her roots in instructing however her roots in soil.
“The kids at school think I’m crazy, but I tell them I’m a soil nerd,” she stated, a smile spreading throughout her face. “Last week, we were doing a soils lab, and I said, ‘I’m giving you guys a free spa treatment today. People pay a lot of money to go to spas and get mud treatments to make their skin nice and smooth. We’re going to do it for free today.’ They were like, ‘She’s crazy; what is she talking about?’ At the end of the class, one of them said, ‘My hands really are smooth.’’’
She said her dad, too, had an interest in soils, and it’s an interest that Marstiller has passed on to her oldest daughter.
“She loves soils and is actually going to WVU in the fall to major in environmental sciences, with an emphasis on soils and waters. The family tradition kind of carries on,” Marstiller laughed.
As the trainer speaks about soil, agricultural sciences and her college students, Marstiller’s ardour for what she does is apparent. It’s that keenness and love for her job and college students that has motivated her over the final 25 years as an element of Jefferson County Schools.
Marstiller takes satisfaction in with the ability to present hands-on studying to college students in fields they’ve curiosity in, serving to them join classes in the classroom to their actual lives. She stated it’s that utility that evokes college students to attempt to succeed, the trainer sharing the satisfaction she feels when this time of 12 months comes, and the college students can work their manner via labs while not having a lot steering from their trainer.
“I think if you hold students to high expectations, they’ll rise to those,” Marstiller stated. “You have to give them the tools to help them get there, but they will surprise you every time. I have a lot of great students who enjoy a little bit of a challenge.
“When you can make that connection between what you’re learning in school and how it can be applied to the outside world, how it can be applied to their future, you’ll find they’re more self-motivated that way and want to succeed.”
Marstiller teaches six totally different lessons every day — plant science, meals science, analysis and growth, equine honest, introduction to agriculture and companion animal care — giving her a wide selection of matters to share. She stated it’s that range that makes the Jefferson program so particular.
“I think that’s what makes our program unique, is that students may enjoy agriculture and may start out taking the intro to agriculture class, which we usually encourage them to do,” Marstiller stated. “From there, they can kind of pick an area they are more interested in, so if they’re into animals, we teach three different animal courses they can take over the time in high school. If they’re interested in plants, we have plant science and food science and technology. I don’t teach it, but we also have the power structural technical mechanics side; we have a natural resource, fish and wildlife side.”
What additionally makes not solely the program, however Jefferson County Schools, so particular to Marstiller is the assist she and her college students have acquired from the group over the years.
Throughout her 25 years in Jefferson County, Marstiller has taught at each secondary faculty in the county, with the exception of Harpers Ferry Middle and Washington High, beginning at Shepherdstown Junior High in 1997 earlier than transferring to Charles Town Middle, the outdated ninth-grade complicated, the place she remained when it grew to become Wildwood Middle School, and at last, Jefferson, which she’s known as dwelling since 2015.
“No matter where I have been, I have always worked with some amazing colleagues, and one of the things that’s always impressed me the most in Jefferson County is the amazing community support that’s available, especially within our field in agriculture,” Marstiller stated. “If you spend any time at the fair or any of the other many activities that are agriculture related, the community there is very supportive of one another. That’s really a big family, and they really do what they can to help the students out, to see them succeed and the program succeed. Even in education as a whole, I believe Jefferson County, the citizens of this county have always supported education and hold it as a valuable tool for the future, for students to be able to take that education and knowledge and skills they’ve learned and hopefully become productive citizens in our community and in the world. They won’t all stay here.”
Despite her dedication over the years, her apparent ardour for her college students and job, Marstiller stated she by no means anticipated to win such an honor.
“It’s an honor. There’s so many great teachers in our county and even in our school itself,” she stated. “I know that, especially since the pandemic, we’ve all been working maybe harder than we ever have before in trying to make up those gaps that have always been there but have become even more obvious and exacerbated because of the pandemic. I know everyone is working super hard. I see it every single day at school. To be recognized for years and years of work is very nice. It’s definitely an honor. But I also know I’m just one of many that are working really hard to try to help students in our county succeed.”
Marstiller credited her dad and longtime Jefferson agriculture trainer Mitch Fincham for his or her mentorship over the years, as effectively. She additionally thanked them, her family and the college students, mother and father and alumni she’s labored with for all the assist over the years.