Alumni Spotlight


Brittany Barnhouse

Brittany Barnhouse is a 2012 graduate of Nitro High School. After graduating from NHS, Brittany received an Associate Degree in Human Service Rehabilitation in Autism.

Brittany currently works for the WV Department of Health and Human Resources as an Office Assistant. She has been married for four years and has been a foster parent since 2018. Brittany has guardianship of a 17-year-old and has also adopted a 12-year-old. She absolutely loves every moment of being a foster parent!

When asked about her favorite KCS teacher, Brittany said “I don’t really have a favorite teacher because all the teachers I had in school supported me through all my rough times.”

Brittany also has some advice for current students, “Never let someone tell you that you can’t do anything you set your mind to. I was told in the 7th grade I had a learning disability and people didn’t think I would go to college. I proved a lot of people wrong because I managed to graduate college and be successful.” She added, “Attendance is important because it helps you not get behind and helps you to learn more everyday.”



Emily Brown

Emily Brown is a 2008 graduate of Nitro High School. After graduating from NHS, Emily attended West Virginia State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
Emily currently works for Kanawha County Schools as a Kindergarten teacher at Central Elementary. When asked about her favorite KCS teacher, Emily said “My 5th grade teacher, Elaine Smith inspired me to be a teacher. She was so loving and caring and always went the extra mile. We taught together for three years before her retirement and still keep in contact.”

Emily also has some advice for current students, “Never give up. Always try your best. You are important!”


Hallie Fogarty

Hallie Fogarty is a 2019 graduate of Nitro High School. She also received her honors medical assisting certification from Ben Franklin Career Center.
Hallie currently works at Marshall Health as a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant, which is one of her major life accomplishments! When asked about her favorite KCS teacher, Hallie said “Ms. Holston with Ben Franklin Career Center is the best ever. She never gave up on me and cared about me more than a student/teacher relationship. She made sure I got good grades in all my classes and was mentally healthy, which every high school kid needs!” Additionally she said, “Ms. Whited at Nitro High School is an amazing teacher. She also cared about me personally to where I didn’t feel like she was just a teacher. I could go to her for anything in life and she was there.”
Hallie also has some advice for current students, “The schooling will pay off! It might seem like it’s dragging on and for no reason, but you’ll miss it when it’s gone.”


Danielle Hunt

Danielle Hunt is a 2004 graduate of Nitro High School. After graduating from NHS, she attended Concord University where she received a Bachelor Degree in Education.
Danielle currently works as the art teacher at her alma mater, NHS. Prior to her current role, she was employed for nine years at the former Stonewall Jackson Middle School (now West Side Middle School). She worked to build the SJMS art department by showcasing the talents of students on the west side of Charleston.   Danielle decided when she was in high school that she wanted to teach art at NHS, but she had no idea it would actually happen! She said, “I started dating my husband as a student in 9th grade at Nitro, and we are now married (21 years later) with two girls who attend Point Harmony. Our girls will attend Nitro one day, hopefully seeing the passion their mom has built. My desire is to keep giving back and creating artistic opportunities for our students and community. I love Nitro!”   When asked about her favorite KCS teacher, Danielle said “I am where I am today due to my high school art teacher, Drema Watts. Drema encouraged me throughout my art career as a student at NHS to take it further.” She continued “I was going in a different direction prior to my numerous years as an art student under her guidance. Drema was the type of teacher you thrived under [by] letting students drive their instruction to develop and forge their own artistic voice. [She was] supportive and championing art events in the community, all while creating relationships with her students. She graded based on effort, not ability. [That is] Something I have always incorporated into my teaching.”


Danielle also has some advice for current students, “Find out what makes YOU happy. The sooner you can find happiness within yourself and your passion, the more successful and balanced you will be in life.” She added, “Attendance is key in forming relationships. You are not able to bond and connect to your students when they are absent. With those relationships, comes the desire to work and improve oneself.”


Mark Young

Mark Young is a 1965 graduate of Nitro High School. After graduating from NHS, he attended some college followed by training in military aircraft maintenance through the United States Air Force (USAF).
Mark retired as an Air Force Master Sergeant (MSgt) after a 20 year career. While in the USAF, he worked as an aircraft crew chief, managed staff work, was assigned to the Presidential flying command post aircraft, and was an aircraft modeler for seven years. After retirement, Mark worked in the USAF Research and Development division as a modeler.

In his free time, Mark enjoys scale model building. He is extremely active in the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) and has successfully competed at the international level. He even has a scratch built model (SR-71) on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum!

When asked how KCS prepared him for life after graduation, Mark said “I think I had a very good education. The school librarian Mrs. Garrett was a very positive influence in my life.” Additionally, he had some advice for current students. “Study,” he said. “I rarely missed a day. Being there is very important to absorbing the lessons.”
Thanks for sharing your story, Mark! And a special thank you for your service.