Middle Creek Elementary School had a very special guest on Wednesday.
Sgt. Andrea Gump of the West Virginia Army National Guard visited the school to talk to Road Runner students on the importance of teamwork. Gump, who is a 2015 graduate of Wheeling Park High School, explained to students that teamwork involves working together with others to achieve a goal. She said teamwork promotes an atmosphere that fosters loyalty and friendship, and it offers different perspectives and feedback. According to Gump, teamwork is important because it improves productivity and provides great learning opportunities.
“Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success,” she told the students.
Gump also met with Middle Creek principal Katrina Lewis. The two have a history together as Lewis was an assistant principal at Wheeling Park when Gump was a Patriot student. In fact, Lewis congratulated Gump on the field at Wheeling Island Stadium when the Patriot senior was named as the 2014 Wheeling Park High School homecoming queen.
“She’s a great girl and an excellent person,” Lewis said. “I think it’s so nice to see a Wheeling Park graduate return and give back to her community. She inspires young people to follow their dreams, and I was excited for her to be here.”
Gump is a 24-year-old drone pilot, journalist, and U.S. Army Veteran from Wheeling, West Virginia. She left her hometown to pursue a Bachelor's of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism at Kent State University in 2015 and graduated in 2018.
Following her time at Kent State, she deployed to Iraq and Kuwait with the 244th Combat Aviation Brigade in 2019-2020 and is now a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG).
After her tour overseas, Andrea accepted a position at WTOV9 to continue reporting news on American soil. She was placed on Active Duty orders again in 2021 and is now the Social Media Marketing Noncommissioned Officer for the WVARNG's Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
Gump said that Wheeling Park High School prepared her for her service, career and life. She said that as a student at Park, she took every College at Park (CP) class available. At the time, she was encouraged by her teachers and family to take those classes, but she did not yet understand how much of an impact they would have on her future. Because of those classes, she graduated from Kent State University a year early which enabled her to deploy with her unit.
Gump said Wheeling Park’s Radio/TV program and teacher Caroline Dillon for instilling in her a love of journalism. She said Dillon’s classes helped her prepare for college and made her feel confident.
“I still remember basic lessons from her classes that I used every day while working for WTOV9,” Gump said. “I still use what I learned there when I create stories for the National Guard. She was right, you definitely get better over time and with practice.”
Gump said Wheeling Park High School has many excellent teachers. She said what she learned from those teachers opened created opportunities for her.
“Some of the best teachers come from Wheeling Park,” Gump said. “I firmly believe that. I was not only taught educational lessons, but I was taught life lessons. The teachers provided me with a positive place to learn and grow. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Ms. Gail Adams, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Leffe, Mr. Cornforth, Ms. Dillon and Ms. Short and Ms. Trifaro. I will forever be thankful for them.”