HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– First Lady Cathy Justice was honored tonight during an induction ceremony for the June Harless Hall of Fame at Marshall University.
Each year the June Harless Center recognizes people who have been identified as outstanding contributors to West Virginia’s educational system with special focus on the rural areas of the state.
“It is an honor to be recognized for what we’ve done in our schools,” said First Lady Justice. “Our students are some of the best and brightest and they deserve to have all the resources they need to succeed. I am happy to do all that I can to help them.”
“I want to send a big congratulations and a thank you to all of the inductees this year, but especially my wife, Cathy, who has shown unwavering dedication to West Virginia schools,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “She has helped improve the lives of all West Virginia students through our Communities In Schools program and I know it will continue for years to come.”
The First Lady has made several contributions to education since the Governor took office in January 2017.
In 2018, First Lady Justice started the Communities In Schools program in three pilot counties. Since then, the program has expanded to include 171 schools in 31 counties.
Communities In Schools aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning with a goal of keeping all students in school and ultimately graduating.
In 2020, First Lady Justice spearheaded the idea of Kids Connect, a joint effort to establish over 1,000 free wireless internet access points in all 55 counties statewide to ensure that every West Virginia student who needed internet access to complete remote schoolwork was able to do so.
Earlier this year, the First Lady started the Friends With Paws program that will place certified therapy dogs in several schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost.
Therapy dogs are being placed in schools within CIS counties where students are disproportionately affected by poverty, substance misuse, or other at-risk situations, and are in the greatest need of a support animal.
The First Lady also started her Student Artist Series with a project for Mother’s Day in 2018. The series was designed to coordinate special holidays with a related student art project. Each initiative is tailored to specific grade levels, so students of all ages get the opportunity to participate.
Dan Mollette, Dolly Parton, and Stan and Barbara Maynard were also inducted into the Hall of Fame during tonight’s ceremony.