Steven Morningstar taught pottery to Joshua Wilfong in school. Even then, says Morningstar, Wilfong wanted to be in the Marines and he tried to persuade others to join.
"Even after he graduated, he and another boy he joined the Marines with used to come over to school," says PHS art teacher Steven Morningstar. "They would wear their uniforms; they were real proud, being in the Marines. I think they were even trying to do some recruiting locally."
Wilfong is the second soldier from PHS to die in Iraq. Private First Class Ernie Sutphin was killed when his Humvee ran over a land mine in March.
"A school's a community," Morningstar says, "and even kids you don't know you hate to lose, but kids you have in class, it's even harder."
While Parkersburg High School students weren't there when Joshua Wilfong went to school in the late 1990's, they still feel the loss.
"Especially with the seniors who don't know if some of the young men might be drafted," says Principal Ralph Board, "some of the young people are talking about going into the military, not knowing what the future holds. I think our students are taking it very seriously."
Both the high school's and the American Flags are flying at half-staff, and PHS students observed a moment of silence for Wilfong at the beginning of classes Monday.