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Scholarship program focuses on teacher shortages

West Virginia University leads the way in providing learning opportunities for nine of the 27 graduating high school seniors who were selected for the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholarship.

Earning this year's scholarships were:

• Mickala Brill (Petersburg High School)
• Sydni Cawley (Nitro High School)
• Stephanie Collins (Grafton High School)
• Hannah Felton (Keyser High School)
• Isabella Klee (South Park High School)
• Stephen Loftis (Sissonville High School)
• Bailey Olinger (University High School)
• Janie Prunty (Bridgeport High School)
• Hazel Riley (Pocahontas County High School)
• Kylea Robinson (Nitro High School)

The scholarship program is designed to help the state overcome its teacher shortages. The students will receive up to $10,000 per year for their college education as they pursue careers as teachers in West Virginia. Additionally, the program connects recipients with a practicing teacher in their chosen field who will provide support as they navigate the college process.

After graduation from college, recipients must commit to teaching in the fields of math, science, special education and elementary education for at least five years.

According to a news article, the West Virginia Legislature and Governor Justice introduced the scholarship to produce new generations of involved, committed teachers to enhance the future of education in the Mountain State. The scholarship has been in place for three years, with three cohorts of scholars now pursuing their teaching careers within the state.

View the West Virginia Presidents' Welcome Message, congratulating all 27 of the graduating high school seniors who were selected for the program.