WELLSTON — The Wellston Ohio Hill Country (OHillCo) Festival held its opening ceremonies this past Wednesday and this year the festival honored a “well-known” retired teacher as grand marshal.

During the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 8, Wellston OHillCo Festival President Joe Mahle invited Francis Newman, a lifetime Wellston resident and educator, to cut the festival’s opening ceremony ribbon.

Mahle stated that the Wellston OHillCo Society was honored to have Newman as Grand Marshal of the festival this year.

Newman attended Sts. Peter and Paul School through the eighth grade then attended and graduated from Wellston High School.

After graduating from high school, he attended St. Charles College in Columbus, and then Rio Grande College where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education.

Newman also attend Boston College for one year to learn Latin and later took his graduate classes in education at Xavier University (Newman Center) in Cincinnati.

Following his education, he began his teaching career in the Wellston City School system where he taught for over 40 years.

Over the years, he has been extremely active in the local communities.

He served as an EMT having the honor of graduating with the first class of Emergency Medical Technicians in Jackson County.

Newman also served as an Ohio State Highway Patrol Driver’s License Examiner in the McArthur, Gallipolis, Chillicothe, and Jackson area.

Newman is also very committed to his church, Sts. Peter and Paul of Wellston and his faith. He served Mass at the Shrine for Cardinal Richard Cushing the Archbishop of Boston, who with Father Kelly encouraged Newman to focus on teaching. On Oct. 27, 2013, Newman received a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis in honor of his 80th Birthday.

Then in 2018 Newman was honored by the Wellston City School system and was awarded a plaque on the Wellston High School Wall of Achievement.

In addition to cutting the opening ceremony ribbon, Newman rode in the Wednesday Hometown Parade. He will also appear in the Saturday, Sept. 11, Grand Finale Parade at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to watch for him near the front of the parade.

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