As a 1979 graduate of Valley High School, it has been with great pride witnessing the community and Valley High School working together to finally make their dream for a football field come to fruition for the Valley students. The opening day of the Valley High football field, Aug. 26, 2016, was a long awaited and much deserved day in the history of our school.

The community and the Fayette County Board of Education owe countless citizens in the Valley District a debt of gratitude for their strong dedication and commitment to the students at Valley High in this endeavor.

I personally thank Valley Principal Lee Loy, Coach Makie McCommack, Mike Myers, John Frisby, Teddy Perdue, Steve Giannini, Libby Akers, Andy and Natalie Pritt and countless others who dedicated many hours of hard work in this long and arduous project. The commitment of these fine citizens in showing the students at Valley High that they deserved a football field like all other high schools in Fayette County was beyond commendable.

The Valley High School football field is in place and the pride on the field and in the bleachers during the inaugural football game this past Friday night was overwhelming.

Now Valley High is faced with another fight: A fight for its survival. The West Virginia School Building Authority has recommended that Valley High School be closed in the very near future with Valley students being shipped to Riverside High in Kanawha County and/or Oak Hill High School on “The Hill” in Fayette County.

Since it is common knowledge that the problems within the Fayette County School System reside on “The Hill” and not in the Valley District, it is imperative that everyone stand unified in support of maintaining Valley High School in Smithers.

Valley’s message must be taken to the West Virginia School Building Authority, to the West Virginia State Department of Education, to the Fayette County Board of Education, to the Fayette County Commission, to the West Virginia State Legislature and to anyone and everyone that will listen.

The Valley District, through no fault of its own, has lost enough. The District lost Montgomery High School in 1977; will lose West Virginia Institute of Technology in 2017; and now the District is on target for closure of Valley High.

The outside attacks on the Valley District and the Upper Kanawha Valley need to stop. Valley High School was allowed to spend dollars and time to obtain and construct their football field and Valley High School should be allowed to keep their current location in Smithers.

Sonie Petry


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