UPDATE 5/12/2014 4:50 PM
Three months after tragedy, a new principal is named at Blennerhassett Middle School.
Randy Edge was appointed at last week's board of education meeting.
Edge is the assistant principal at Williamstown High School.
He succeeds Jim Hostottle.
The 48-year-old died unexpectedly in February.
Following Hostottle's death, former Parkersburg High administrator Jim Hamric was named interim principal.
The retiree told the board he wasn't interested in returning for the fall.
So Dr. Pat Law and company found another qualified candidate.
"You need to be willing to put in the time that's going to be required to learn the school, learn your stuff, get to know your community and get to know the students in your school and I think Mr. Edge has those qualities," says Dr. Law.
Edge officially becomes principal July 1.
That's also the day the county gets a new superintendent.
Former Parkersburg South administrator John Flint will succeed Doctor Law.
UPDATE 3/15/2014 6:05 PM
One month after tragedy, life goes on at Blennerhassett Middle School.
Principal Jim Hostottle died suddenly on February 15th. The 48-year-old came to the school in 2003. He became principal five-years-later, forging a strong bond with his colleagues.
"We worked very closely together, saw eye-to-eye in just about everything we did. Mr. Hostottle was everyone's best friend. He was my best friend," said Vice Principal Jack Waugaman.
Waugaman now works alongside Jim Hamric. The former Parkersburg High School Administrator was named interim principal the after Hostottle's death, bringing the retiree off the golf course and back into the classroom.
"There was a lot of hurt I could tell. I could see some students were kind of backing-up from me. It will just take time," said Hamric.
One month on the job and his predecessor's memory is alive and enduring thanks to some t-shirts. A testament to his popularity with children, the idea didn't come from parents or faculty. The shirts were the vision of Hostottle's students. A group of 8th grade girls designed them on their smartphones, presented the sketch to school officials, and put the t-shirts on sale, selling more than 300.
""We went to the shirt company and she messed around with the designs and put it all together and then we made order forms and then we sent it to the office and then they made copies and then we hung them around the school," said one of the girls.
The plan is to wear the t-shirts every Friday for the rest of the school year. The initiative is taking off. The girls say their shirts are being sold in other area schools like Parkersburg South and Williamstown.
UPDATE 3/14/2014 4:15 PM
Saturday marks one month since our community lost one of its most beloved educators.
Now, still coping to move forward, some Blennerhassett Middle School students are honoring their former principal in their own way, making their parents and teachers proud.
The group of eighth-grade girls designed t-shirts in memory of Jim Hostottle.
The 48-year-old died February 15th.
The girls came up with the idea that same weekend.
They designed the shirts on their smartphones, presented the sketch to school officials, and put the t-shirts on sale, selling more than 300.
"We went to the shirt company and she messed around with the designs and put it all together and then we made order forms and then we sent it to the office and then they made copies and then we hung them around the school," says one student.
The plan is to wear the shirts every Friday for the rest of the school year.
And the initiative is really taking off.
The girls say their shirts are even being sold at other Wood County schools, like South and Williamstown.
Shirts are $15, with $6 going towards a college fund for Jim Hostottle's son.
UPDATE 2/17/2014 4:20 PM
Educators, family members and the Blennerhassett Middle School community cope with tragedy.
Principal Jim Hostottle died suddenly Saturday night.
Monday was the first school day for students and faculty without their leader.
There's still a sense of shock from school officials.
Jim Hostottle was a beloved principal, a man who was a close friend and colleague to many other educators around him.
Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling has no new details on how Hostottle passed away Saturday night.
But he did describe a difficult day back to school Monday.
Some of the children at Blennerhassett Middle School were learning the news for the first time, a lot of them having difficulty controlling their emotions.
"Kids were upset, visibly upset, frustrated, all the steps in all the process of grieving. We had some who were angry. We had some who were sad. We had some who were in that, 'I can't believe this is happening in our school'," says Fling.
Fling says it's been difficult not having the answers to questions students have about their former principal, and thus not providing the children any sense of understanding.
Jim Hostottle was 48-years-old.
School officials add that while right now is a time for mourning, they do intend to hold some sort of memorial service, celebrating the life of Hostottle.
Assistant Superintendent of Wood County Schools Mike Fling confirmed that Blennerhassett Middle School Principal, Jim Hostottle, died Saturday.
In a statement, Fling says, "It is with great sadness that Wood County Schools announces the loss of one of our School Administrators. Mr. Jim Hostottle, Principal of Blennerhassett Middle School, passed away Saturday evening [February 15th] unexpectedly. The Faculty and staff met (Sunday) to develop a plan to assist both the students and staff in coping with this event. There will special assistance available to both students and staff on Monday and beyond as it is needed. Wood County Schools extends it's condolences to family and friends."