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Quick takes

FIRST ENERGY: FirstEnergy Corp. recently recognized Ryan Vitek of Rayland with the company’s president’s award for his dedication to community affairs and civic progress near the W.H. Sammis Plant, where he works as a manager of human resources.

Vitek’s award recognizes his volunteer and employee engagement initiatives for organizations, including the United Way of Jefferson County, Harvest For Hunger, holiday gift drives and participation in the company’s United Way Day of Caring efforts.

In addition to his charitable activities, Vitek was instrumental in generating local support for the Sammis Plant through outreach to community officials, speaking engagements and meetings with agency directors to outline the ongoing importance of the plant’s economic impact on the community.

Additionally, Vitek serves on the boards of the Jefferson County United Way and the Urban Mission in Steubenville.

For his efforts, FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Jones presented a $2,000 award to Vitek at a recent ceremony in Akron.

OUTSTANDING: Buckeye Local High School Intervention Specialist Carolyn Gullen has been recognized for her abilities to help students with the outstanding educator award from State Support Team Region 12.

Gullen, who has worked for the district for the past 19 years, learned of the honor last year but recently received her commendation. She has assisted students at the junior high and high schools by providing support, interventions, accommodations, modifications and guidance to support learning.

Thomas Brown, district administrative coordinator of special programs, nominated Gullen and said he was inspired by her dedication to helping students succeed.

“I have had the privilege to work with Mrs. Gullen for the past three years. During this time, her love for her job is obvious within minutes of meeting,” Brown stated in his nomination letter. “Whether it is educating students in a resource setting, or a full inclusion model, Mrs. Gullen strives to ensure that students with disabilities have their full exposure to the curriculum in the least restrictive environment possible.”

“What drew me into special education was the motivation my cousin gave me as I worked with her and she learned her colors and shapes. You see, she has cerebral palsy and is mentally disabled. Not only could I see how happy she was with herself, but when I saw the pride and appreciation in my aunt and uncle’s eyes, I knew I wanted to go into teaching students with disabilities. That was about 48 years ago.”

Gullen graduated from the College of Steubenville in 1978 with dual certification in special education and elementary education. She taught at Steubenville City Schools for five years in the primary multiple handicapped classroom. She took a 12-year hiatus to raise three children, and in 1996, she returned to work at North Middle School in Brilliant and taught students with disabilities in science, math and a language arts class.

She moved to BLHS in 2013 and became an intervention specialist, teaching sophomores and juniors in science and reading.

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