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were young, Linda
and Dale Estep
taught them the
Brian and Ryan
Estep are pictured
here at Brian's
left to right.
Brian, a second
grade teacher at
was recently named
Big Stone Gap
Teacher of the
Year for 2006.
Native Named Teacher Of The Year
by JoBeth Wampler
journey to making a difference in people's lives has been a
tough one for Hurley native Brian Estep.
a little girl in his class nominated him for the Big Stone
Gap Wal-Mart's Local Teacher of the Year in 2006, he
discovered just how much it had been worth it.
Estep, 29, found that he received the award in the program's
was a long road to get there, but I'm very blessed," he
to the Big Stone Gap Post, he received a $50 gift
certificate, a Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year logo tee-shirt,
and a check for $1,000 for the school at which he currently
teaches, Appalachia Elementary School.
really proud of him. He's come a long way throughout his 29
years," his mother, Linda, says.
little boy, he always talked about being a history
teacher," his father Dale Estep says. "Me and
their mom always taught them to do whatever they wanted to
do, but to do the best job they could."
up as the middle child of Dale and Linda Estep and along
with his brothers, Tony and Ryan, was encouraged to go to
school, like many children in Buchanan County, to avoid the
worked underground for 21 years, leaving the job in November
1998 after being injured when a rock fell on him.
waited one day too late to quit," Dale Estep says
is just one of the characteristics that can be found in
Estep, who laughs about cursive handwriting being his
biggest obstacle this year.
the voice of a youngster, he says, "Mr. Estep, what's
that? It doesn't look like an L."
Appalachia Elementary School moved him from the third grade
to the second, where the emphasis is on English and Writing.
It's a far
cry from where Estep started out.
graduated Hurley High School in 1996, he hoped to teach the
seventh or eighth grade one day. Those plans changed after
his student teaching experience showed him how great
elementary children can be.
just fell in love with the kids," he says.
attended Southwest Virginia Community College after high
school for two years, also working part time at Food City in
Grundy. But, after a friend and co-worker encouraged him to
become a correctional officer, he traveled to Richmond,
where he stayed from 1998 until 1999.
time, Estep thought one of three things would happen, either
he would love it, hate it or tolerate it and save his money.
didn't love it, but it was tolerable," he says.
it wasn't tolerable enough to stick around more than a year
and in 2000, he moved to Wise to attend the University of
Virginia's College at Wise.
he earned his Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with
an emphasis in pre-K through grade 6 and started work as a
Kindergarten teacher at J.M. Bevins Elementary School.
whole year, Estep drove four hours a day to and from his
home in Big Stone Gap. And, for a chance to do something he
always dreamed of doing, he coached girls Junior Varsity
basketball at Hurley High School that same year.
year was rough, but I guess it's what new teachers do,"
he needed a change of pace, opting to become a substance
always wanted to help, to make a difference or an impact in
people's lives," Estep says.
of the fact that he wasn't teaching, he says he was proud to
be doing something that changed lives. But, his passion for
teaching came calling again in 2005, when he was offered a
position at Appalachia Elementary School.
is very similar to Hurley," says Estep. "And you
know, Rebel pride never dies."
is located in a community, he says, which has both a great
work ethic and very involved parents.
him of his home in Hurley, Estep says the parents in
Appalachia make his job so much easier. With out the
re-enforcement of involved parents, it is impossible to make
school lessons really stick, he says.
a good teacher helps.
some reason, I just always wanted to teach," he says.
suggests his admiration for his own teachers may have
encouraged him to follow in their footsteps.
more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer,
on sale at newsstands now. To subscribe to the Mountaineer,
call 276-935-2123 today.
Man Dies in Single Vehicle Crash at Home Creek
A Wolford man died
last Tuesday after his vehicle swerved off the road and crashed into
Belcher, 29, was traveling north on Rt. 650 in Home Creek, 1.2 miles
north of Rt. 659, when the 1993 Ford Ranger pickup he was operating
ran off the right side of the road, according to Virginia State
Police Sergeant Michael Conroy. After apparently overcorrecting,
Belcher then drove the pickup off the left side of the road and
crashed into the bridge.
He died at the
scene, according to Conroy.
occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m., Conroy said.
State Trooper Gene
Crouse investigated the accident.
Mountaineer to Publish Hannibal
Compton's 'A Moonshiner's Folly' Beginning in January 2007
with the first issue in January 2007, the Mountaineer will
begin publishing Hannibal A. Compton's A Moonshiner's Folly in
its print edition.
originally published in 1915, has oft been requested and due
to the demand, the H.A. Compton estate, which owns the rights
to the book, has agreed to allow its publishing in a
serialized format beginning in January.
of the Mountaineer cannot be guaranteed, so those wishing to
follow the story are reminded not to miss an issue.
Subscription information is available by calling the
Mountaineer at 276-935-2123.
VDOT Prepared for
Harsh Winter Weather
$82.6 Million Budgeted for '06 Winter Snow
Virginia Department of Transportation officials say
preparations for this winter's snow and ice hazards began long
season represents one of the busiest times of year for
transportation departments," said David Ekern, VDOT
Commissioner. "Like a football team in preseason, VDOT
crews began training while temperatures were still warm to
ensure that our equipment, supplies and crews were in top
shape for the first wintry weather to arrive."
fall, VDOT crews began dry runs to practice mounting plows and
salt spreaders on their trucks and rehearsed their assigned
snow routes, according to a press release from the department.
For snow removal activities this winter, VDOT has prepared
more than 3,500 pieces of snow-removal equipment and 3,900
crewmembers, and has budgeted $82.6 million statewide.
dedicated snow-removal professionals have honed their skills
and are ready to work around the clock to make roads safe and
passable during wintry weather," Ekern said.
responsible for clearing snow and ice from more than 57,800
miles of roads across the state. During snow events,
VDOT plows interstate highways and major primary routes first.
Crews then work to clear secondary roads and subdivision
streets. The goal is to make all roads passable within 48
hours after the storm ends.
years, VDOT has employed new technology to help keep Virginia
roadways maintained. Some examples include spraying liquid
calcium chloride and magnesium
chloride on bridges and pavements before a storm starts to
prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement; a statewide
network of 41 weather sensors in roadways and bridges that
allow VDOT maintenance crews to identify when and where road
surfaces might be freezing; real-time traveler information
drawn from crew observations, State Police dispatchers,
pavement sensors, traffic cameras and other tools that is
conveyed to the public using 511.
last winter was not as snowy as some previous years, we will
prepare our supplies, budget and equipment to deal with
anything Mother Nature sends our way this winter," Ekern
said. "Motorists should also prepare by getting their
vehicles ready for winter weather and by educating themselves
about winter driving. Slowing down and knowing the road
conditions before you leave home are the best ways to stay
safe when driving in snow and ice."
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