Excellence in Education: Mountaineer Middle School ISAAC Project Coordinator

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 1:45 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - In this week’s Excellence in Education report sponsored by Davis & Elkins College, we are highlighting Mountaineer Middle School’s ISAAC Project Coordinator.

An educator’s job doesn’t end after the school day. Teachers are constantly looking to improve the lives of their former students both in and outside the classroom.

MaryJo DeMarco Bastin is a proud native West Virginian. She’s also been a positive, supporting role model for the local youth in the community.

During the day, DeMarco Bastin is committed to her role as a teacher at Johnson Elementary, but by the time 2:50 p.m. rolls around, she’s off to coordinate the ISAAC Project at Mountaineer Middle School.

The program encourages students to get involved in the community as well as offer the future leaders of tomorrow a chance to learn about the current leaders of today.

“Last year, we running about 15 kids, and we set a goal this year for 30. Right now, we’re sitting at about 25 a night, so we’re almost at our goal and we’re only in November,” said DeMarco Bastin. “We also try to do some community help activities, like make blankets for the veterans and pack things for activities coming up in the community if we reach out and get those. The engagement with teachers and community is really what we strive to do.”

The program offers plenty of activities that encourages each student to find their own path. On Wednesday, the program is hosting an event that encourages nothing more than competitive fun.

“We’re having a Mountaineer Middle Cake Decorating Challenge, so my mom and I will make the cake, decorate it in a holiday theme, and then the parents and the kids will work together to mimic the decoration on that cake. It just brings the family together. It was so competitive, it just brings out the competitiveness of the parents and the kids, so I just thought that was nice. They all just seemed like they had a good time, and they got to take home whatever they made.”

The time and effort teachers like DeMarco Bastin invest in their students sometimes goes under the radar, but it’s always important to remember sometimes a student’s biggest supporter is their teacher behind the scenes.

“It’s been 10 years since I’ve been a part of this program, but we only have kids for three years because they go onto high school. Just seeing the kids that I have from 6th grade all the way up to 8th grade and just seeing how they’ve changed over the years. They might’ve struggled 6th grade year, but they really blossomed in the 8th grade year. Now they’re playing different sports and just being their cheerleader is what I like to do.”