"On a rolling plateau, 2800 feet above sea level, surrounded on every side by the towering peaks of the grand old Alleghanies, and embowered by trees of the virgin forest, lies the little village of Athens. The eye may travel for miles across the mountain tops to catch the gleams of the morning sun as it springs above the forests that cover the East River Chain, and again when it sets in golden glory behind the mountains of the New River -- a place fitted by nature to call the noblest elements of human character into life; for who can gaze upon the grandeur of the mountains bathed in the glory of the rising and setting sun without feeling the power of God, or who can breathe the pure air that sweeps across the mountain tops without gathering the inspiration that caused our fathers to choose as their motto montani semper liberi.
The air, water, and the scenic beauties of the place conspire in producing that health and strength and energy which should distinguish the West Virginian. And these good influences are aided by the absence of all temptations to vice. No school can be more free from all those influences which tend to degrade either the moral or physical well-being of the young. It is sometimes asserted that Athens is so hard to reach, but it seems to us to be an added recommendation. When here, the very difficulties in the way of coming insure that you will be associated with an earnest and devoted band of students and that you will be removed from evil influences. The good things of life require effort to secure them." (Source: Annual Catalogue of the West Virginia State Normal School Concord Branch, Athens, West Virginia, Twenty-Fifth Year, 1899-1900 , Announcement for 1900-1901.)
Education as a Core Value in the Community
Remembering School Holidays
Memories of elementary and secondary school are filled with favorite teachers, friends and celebrations. For children, celebrating holidays in the Athens We Knew held special significance. Class parties and events included many traditions. Singing, dancing, performing, preparing food and making decorations produced excitement. Celebrating holidays in school was enjoyable and it made them more meaningful. Anticipation grew as we prepared for and participated in the commemoration of holidays, especially Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Easter. This excitement we felt as children often extended into high school and college.
The celebration of holidays is a reflection of the culture and community in which people live and Athens was no exception. The majority of our families and classmates attended Christian churches and readily accepted the observance of religious holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter were important components in the tapestry of our community and observance of these holidays provided individuals an opportunity to express their faith. We were taught, and believed, that freedom and religious liberty go hand-in-hand. Read more...