15 finalists named in West Virginia Scholar Program

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Fifteen rising seniors are still in the running in this year’s West Virginia Scholar program sponsored in part by West Virginia Wesleyan and MetroNews.

The 15, who recently finished their junior years in high school, were selected from dozens of applicants.

“It’s such a talented group of students that applied for this award,” Wesleyan Vice President for Enrollment Management John Waltz said Tuesday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “I think of all of the applicants the average GPA was a 3.6 and the average GPA of our finalists was a 3.9 and 11 of those finalists have a GPA of 4.0 or higher.”

Waltz is always quick to point out academic achievement isn’t the only thing that’s being reviewed. He said co-curricular work and the students’ essays along with other factors play a role. He said the essays the group of finalists are impressive.

“It’s really amazing to see them reflect not only on the pandemic, on social issues, on a lot of different things and some of the things we were able to read here gave us such hope,” Waltz said. “A lot of their desire, really among the whole group, is to live and work and improve the state of West Virginia.”

The student chosen gets a four-year full scholarship to Wesleyan.. The second prize is a four-year $5,000 scholarship and third prize is a four-year $2,500 scholarship. The West Virginia Scholar program is in its 13th year. Fifteen finalists were chosen this year instead of the usual 10. The application period of extended because of the pandemic.

Voting on the MetroNews website begins next Monday, July 6, and will continue through July 31. The winners will be announced at a luncheon scheduled for the Wesleyan campus in Buckhannon in early August.

Joining West Virginia Wesleyan and MetroNews as sponsors are the West Virginia Hospital Association, ZMM Architects & Engineers, West Virginia Farm Bureau, Friends of Coal, and RCB Wealth Management.

The 15 finalists in alphabetical order:

Hailey Cox Shady Spring High School

Emma Dotson Bridgeport High School

Melody Garrett Lewis County High School

Abigail Hannan Elkins High School

Davis Haynes Ripley High School

Alexander Heath Musselman High School

Abigail Judy Winfield High School

Macy McKnight Sissonville High School

Quinn Raffo Richwood High School

Eden Reynolds Cross Lanes Christian School

Laruen Roush Ripley High School

Alex Thompson Philip Barbour High School

Allison Vance Washington High School

Miranda Vaughn Cabell-Midland High School

Peyton Whitt James Monroe High School

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