Scholar program will benefit state and students

Every school year, West Virginia has a hard time filling every classroom with a qualified teacher.  Too many classes end up being taught by a teacher not certified in that discipline

One of the issues is pay, since college graduates can make more in other professions. Another is that fewer people are choosing to be schoolteachers.

But West Virginia has a new program that will help.  Last year, the Legislature included in the comprehensive education reform bill a retooling of the Underwood-Smith Scholarship and Loan Repayment program.

The new Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program awards $10,000 per year scholarships (maximum $40,000) to 25 students annually who meet certain academic benchmarks.

Those students must commit to teaching at least five years in West Virginia in the fields with the most severe shortages—math, science, special education, and elementary education. Students who fail to meet that obligation must pay back the money.

Just this week, the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission announced the names of the first 25 scholars who will begin college this fall.  They were selected from more than 300 applicants. The applicants do not have to be from West Virginia and one of this year’s winners is from Ohio.

Here is what a few of them said about the scholarship and their career choices:

Isabella Vint of Boone County said that one of her teachers, “inspired me to become a teacher and to come back to my community to make it a better place.”

Olivia Burns, Putnam County, said, “When a teacher is passionate about what they are teaching that has a huge impact on their students.”

Emily McElwain of Greenbrier County said, ”I will never forget the actions they (teachers) took to get me to where I am now and I want to be able to do that for some in the future.”

Megan Noss of Preston County said, “I cannot wait to be a teacher so I can make an impact in each child’s life and have a personal connection with them.”

Kensley White of Boone County, “I want to bring the opportunity that I received back to the kids in my community.”

Sophia Miller of Wood County said, “I want to leave a positive impact on my future students the way my teachers have left one on me.”

(You can see the full list of scholarship winners below and watch a short video about them here.)

It is worth noting that these scholarships are “stackable,” meaning the student can also receive other financial aid, such as the Promise Scholarship or Pell Grants, so these students may be able to graduate debt free.

This is a powerful program that will not only change the lives of promising young West Virginians and keep them in the state, but also benefit the state for years to come by putting passionate professionals into these hard-to-fill positions.

(For high school seniors who want to become a teacher in West Virginia, applications open on July 15, 2020 for the 2021 cohort. Visit underwoodsmith.org for more information.)

  • Maggie Bailey from Wirt County High School is attending West Virginia University at Parkersburg to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Emily Barr from Nicholas County High School is attending Glenville State College to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Kailee Beckman from North Marion High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Olivia Burns from Hurricane High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Wiley Byers from Greenbrier East High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Payton Campbell from Lewis County High School is attending West Virginia Wesleyan College to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Kyler Carper from Wirt County High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Brooke Choiniere from Spring Mills High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Ashley Davis from Ritchie County High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Samuel Dudgeon from Mount View High School is attending Ohio Valley University to pursue a degree in math.
  • BreighAnne Glover from Hedgesville High School is attending Shepherd University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Chase Haines from Spring Mills High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Emma Haley from St. Clairsville High School in Ohio is attending West Liberty University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Josie Hill from Point Pleasant High School is attending Glenville State College to pursue a degree in math.
  • Somer Kerr from Philip Barbour High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stori Ketterman from Petersburg High School is attending Shepherd University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Faith Lovejoy from Buffalo Putnam High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Jacob Massey from Sherman High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Emily McElwain from Greenbrier East High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sophia Miller from Parkersburg South High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Megan Noss from Preston High School is attending West Virginia Wesleyan College to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Caroline Smith from Nicholas County High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Mallori Straub from Morgantown High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Isabella Vint from Scott High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kensley White from Van Junior Senior High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.

 

 

 

 

 





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