Two very different operations at Clay County High School

By Chris Lawrence in News
CLAY, W.Va. — Although students are on summer break, Clay County High School Principal Melinda Isaacs has plenty to keep her busy. Isaacs is overseeing two major operations in her school amid chaos in the county. The high school is the distribution point for flood relief supplies, which is happening in the front. Out back, in the basement, volunteers are working to clean out the flooded football facilities.

“Clay County High School is the center of this community and we’re happy to be able to be of service. We are the hub of activity to take care of food, water, and cleaning supplies for our community,” said Isaacs during a rare moment of stillness.

Volunteers, many of them students, formed a chain and offloaded donated items from a trailer at one end of the school. The items were brought from other parts of the state donated by generous West Virginians who have been pouring out their hearts and helping as they can. Volunteers and some teachers and administrators worked in front of the school to load the needed supplies into vehicles as flood victims drove through the school parking lot.

“We’re doing our best to be efficient,” said Isaacs. “We feel like if we have different stations for different needs we can make movement a little more efficient.”

Isaacs said the school has served in this capacity before, but never on a scale quite like this.

“We need cleaning supplies, heavy rubber gloves for debris removal, brooms, mops and flathead shovels. We are in very short supply of flathead shovels,” she said. “We need bleach and baby wipes to allow people who are without water to at least clean up a little bit.”

Behind the school, the entire football coaching staff along with some parents and players performed the sad task of carrying out ruined football equipment. In the film room game films dating back nearly 50 years were lost along with newspaper clippings documenting games from as far back as the 1950’s. Coach Jason Isaacs lifted a muddy jersey from a pile of debris.

The most telling story may have been when the doors were first opened a fish was swimming the floor of the locker room. Isaacs said they caught the fish, threw it back in the river, and got started. She was emphatic despite the loss, the school will field a football team this fall.

“A high school football program anywhere is important, but in our community it’s a mainstay,” she said. “We are thankful we haven’t lost lives, but we know one of the most important things we can do is provide hope for my kids and that’s through football.”