WEIRTON - Close to 200 Weir High students left school early Thursday to catch a baseball game in Pittsburgh.
They weren't "ditching" though, as the game was a reward for the students' performances on state standardized tests.
Last spring Weir High School, working with officials from Hancock County Savings Bank, came up with a plan to recognize students for their work on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test, or WESTEST, which measures students' knowledge of state content standards in the areas of science, social studies, math and reading/language arts.
REWARD — Approximately 170 Weir High students boarded buses bound for Pittsburgh Thursday morning to see the Pirates take on the San Diego Padres. The baseball game was a reward from the school and Hancock County Savings Bank to students who had improved their scores in reading and math in state standardized testing offered in the spring. The bank purchased all of tickets. - Craig Howell
Students who had improved their scores over the previous year would receive a ticket to a Pirates game, provided by the bank.
According to Weir High School Principal Dan Enich, 187 students qualified for the tickets with improved scores in reading and math, with 170 choosing to attend Thursday's game.
"We've very proud of our kids," Enich said. "They've done a great job and deserve this."
Enich thanked Hancock County Savings Bank for working to put the event together, which also included a pep rally and afternoon of games last spring featuring a visit by the Pittsburgh Pirates Parrot mascot.
"They bought all the tickets and have helped the whole way," Enich said, adding the bank has been a great business partner for the school.
In particular, Enich noted the contributions of the late Barbara Matey, who had been the bank's vice president of human resources. Matey died Sept. 1 following a long illness.
"She was instrumental in all of this," Enich said. "We sadly miss her."
The Pirates won the game 10-1.