By Lacie Pierson
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Cabell County students spend much of their formative years studying the linguistic styles of such figures starting with the likes of Dr. Seuss and Raffi all the way through to Shakespeare and U.S. presidents.
However, there’s one prominent figure within the borders of Cabell County who seems to have captured the attention of students, as well as their parents and teachers, throughout the county with one simple phrase.
“Hello, parents and students. This is Jedd Flowers, director of communications for Cabell County Schools.”
Flowers’ duties call for him to complete tasks like writing news releases for the media, updating the school system’s website and facilitating media interviews with school officials when necessary, but he is most familiar and beloved in many households as the voice who informs nearly 20,000 students, parents and teachers, who are signed up for phone alerts from the school system, when school is canceled or there is a two-hour delay.
There is such anticipation for a call from Flowers that #JeddFlowers often becomes a regionally trending topic on Twitter whenever there even is a whiff of inclement weather in the air, including the seven days of school that were canceled in January alone.
It started in 2013, when Flowers said he found out there was a “Jedd Flowers Fan Club” on Facebook, but that group was fairly small, and the movement since has taken a life of its own.
“I have the Twitter app on my phone, and I started getting these dings,” Flowers said. “I started hearing it going, ‘Ping! Ping! Ping!’ I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ I looked at it, and, of course, I started seeing a lot of these mentions. I had to laugh.”
The mentions of Flowers on Twitter range from students offering him money to cancel school and even a poetic valentine from Twitter user @AlexxFaith that reads, “Roses r red. Violets r blue. When you say it’s Jedd, I fall in love with u.”
Flowers said he does have private Twitter and Facebook accounts, but he declines requests from students because the West Virginia Department of Education strongly discourages interaction between educators and education officials with students. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep up with what is going on social media.
“I get a good chuckle out of it,” he said. “Some of them will even post on there something like, ‘I’ll bet he doesn’t know we’re all posting this on here,’ but I do. I’ve seen all of them, and it’s cracking me up to watch all of them…”