By Erin Beck
A Shinnston native and lifelong resident who tries to focus on the bright side of life, Lincoln High School Assistant Principal Pat Boggess often works with kids who are struggling.
Sometimes he serves in the role of disciplinarian. Sometimes, he works with students he knows have rough home lives and schoolwork is the last thing on their minds. But the position is still a dream job for the optimistic Boggess, who took the job at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
“I don’t hate to get up in the morning to go to work,” he said. “I like what I do. I think that’s half the battle.”
By letting kids know he cares, he watches them develop more hopeful outlooks as well.
“You may see some students that really don’t have great self-esteem,” he said. “They might not have had that guidance. They don’t really believe in themselves as much as they should. And once they start seeing some of that success, whether it’s in academics, athletics, family, … once they start seeing that, that kind of boosts them up a little bit, boosts their spirits. They can see there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Boggess graduated from Lincoln High School in 1997. Some of the students roaming the halls of his school are children of his former classmates.
He went on to teach history, as well as special education at United High School in Clarksburg, but Shinnston called him home to his “old stomping ground,” he said.
“I loved my old job,” he said. “I’m super glad to be where I’m at.”
Boggess is not the type who’s going to scream and yell when students misbehave.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” he said. “That’s what I tell every student. I don’t separate them or make them feel any different.”
Instead, he said he works to figure out why kids might be acting out. Once they know someone is in their corner, they feel less alone.
“Even though we’re a small area, not every family is going to be the same,” he said.
Even before switching schools, Boggess was already a familiar face in town, often cheering on kids at school athletic events.
He said he appreciates that friendly, small-town feel in Shinnston that other areas lack. A self-described “family-oriented kind of guy,” he said his parents still live in the area, and his wife Whitney is also from Shinnston. They have a six-year-old daughter, Giada.
“I can literally almost walk to where I grew up at,” he said. “That’s how small, in a good way, it is.”
His cousin Jill Fratto, also of Shinnston, said she’s most impressed by “his steadfast devotion to family, friends and community as well as his positive, ‘can do’ attitude.”
“He is always willing to step up and do anything he can to help in any situation,” she said.
Citizen of the Month is a recognition sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston — locally-owned and operated.