The 10 finalists for the West Virginia Scholar award at West Virginia Wesleyan College have practically guaranteed themselves a PROMISE and Presidential scholarship to attend school in the fall of 2014, but three students on Wednesday received an extra bit of help in paying for their higher education.
The program awarded a four-year, fully paid scholarship to Kathryn Robinson, a home-schooled student from Renick. She thanked those who had helped her to achieve the honor, especially her grandmother.
"I can't say thank you enough to the people who got me here, who pushed me to be everything I could be," she said. "The little things that didn't seem important - today they are."
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
West Virginia Wesleyan College awarded three rising seniors at state high schools with scholarships to attend the college in 2014 during its annual West Virginia Scholar luncheon Wednesday. Flanking the winning students are Elaine Culpepper, left, and Marvin Culpepper, right. Joining the Culpeppers are, second from left, Rachel Fulks of Bridgeport, Kathryn Robinson of Renick, center, and Ronald Beale II of Scott Deport.
The first runner-up, Rachel Fulks of Bridgeport, received a $5,000 four-year, renewable scholarship. Second runner-up, Ronald Beale II of Scott Depot, received a $2,500 four-year, renewable scholarship.
"The state of West Virginia is very proud of you and what you have accomplished," said Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia Metro News. "But it's not over. This was open to every high school junior in West Virginia, and 10 of you are here. We expect even more from you .. to give back to your community and to make life better for others."
MVB Bank representative Aly Goodwyn said this scholarship provides a starting point for achieving dreams.
"Among you today may be the person who cures cancer, redefines space travel or brings about world peace," she said. "You stand on the precipice of greatness, and I urge you to move forward."
Dale Lee, the president of the West Virginia Education Association, said each of the finalists already knows the value of an education. But he urged the group to use that education to be able to help others in the future who will be traveling down a similar path.
"The best thing in life is when you give back and help others to achieve a goal," he said. "Use this to succeed in life and help others."
Pamela Balch, the president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, said that aspect of service will soon become a part of the student's character after arriving on campus.
"We are an academically excellent institution. That's a given," Balch said. "But beyond the academic excellence, everybody leaves West Virginia Wesleyan with a passion to serve others. That's built in to who we are."
The other finalists for the award were Johnna Akers of Shinnston, Kensey Bergdorf of Evans, Cayla Collett of Elkins, Cheyanne Conrath of Petersburg, Amanda Dawson of Sistersville, Sarah Fizer of Martinsburg and Dahlton Kittle of Bridgeport.
The program was started by the Culpepper family in 1991 and is now done in partnership with MVB Bank, the West Virginia Forestry Association, the West Virginia Education Association, the West Virginia Coal Association and West Virginia Metro News.