WV Scholar Program winners announced; Ripley’s Haynes places second

Staff Writer
Jackson Newspapers
Davis Haynes

On Nov. 12, West Virginia MetroNews’ Talkline statewide radio show with Hoppy Kercheval, Eden Reynolds of Cross Lanes was announced as the winner of the 13th annual West Virginia Scholar Program. Reynolds will receive full four-year tuition, fees, room, and board scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) upon her enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester. She was selected from a group of 15 finalists and over 70 total applicants, representing 21 counties in West Virginia.

“Eden Reynolds stands out both as a student and as an individual and we are thrilled to offer her a full four-year scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan,” said Joel Thierstein, J.D., Ph.D., President of West Virginia Wesleyan College. “West Virginia Wesleyan has a 130-year tradition of excellence and I congratulate all of the West Virginia Scholars participants for their outstanding credentials and hope they will pursue their education here at Wesleyan.”

“I am so happy and honored to be chosen as this year’s West Virginia Scholar Award recipient! I look forward to pursuing my college studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College,” said Reynolds. “I realize what a special opportunity this is and I will make the most of it! I can’t thank MetroNews, West Virginia Wesleyan College, and Marvin and Elaine Culpepper enough for their generous investment in my future.

“Go Bobcats,” Reynolds added.

William and Crystal Reynolds, Eden’s parents, shared their appreciation and acknowledged the impact of today’s announcement.

“We are so very proud of our daughter, Eden! We are beyond grateful to the Culpeppers and West Virginia Wesleyan for this generous gift and extraordinary opportunity,” the family said. “Thank you for investing in Eden so that she may, in turn, invest in our great state. We are looking forward to becoming a part of the West Virginia Wesleyan family.”

Currently a senior at Cross Lanes Christian School, Reynolds has maintained a 4.0 GPA through her high school career while co-captaining the Lady Warriors Women’s Basketball team and serving as an active member of Cross Lanes Baptist Church. She plans to pursue physics and engineering at WVWC.

WVWC will also award $5,000 and $2,500 scholarships to Davis Haynes of Ripley and Quinn Raffo of Craigsville as the first and second runner-up, respectively. A 4.0 student at Ripley High School, Haynes plays baseball and golf, was selected for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, and plans on studying secondary education with an emphasis in social studies. Raffo is the founder of a backpack program to fight hunger and was one of four national recipients of the U.S. Cellular ‘Future of Good’ Grant Award. She plans to continue her community service efforts in college while studying social justice.

The average GPA of this year’s finalists was 3.9, with 11 of 15 holding a perfect 4.0. In addition to the three winners, all 15 finalists qualify to receive the Presidential Scholarship, the top academic scholarship for new students, to attend WVWC in Fall 2021. Over the previous 12 years of the West Virginia Scholar Program, approximately two-third of finalists have gone on to attend WVWC. Previous winners and finalists are now enjoying successful careers in healthcare, law, business, and education.

West Virginia Scholar applications were open online at wvmetronews.com from February 10 through June 1. All West Virginia high school juniors were eligible to apply with a transcript and an essay. The SAT/ACT requirement was waived this year due to COVID-19. WVWC released the names of the 15 finalists on June 29, which can be viewed here. Ranking of the finalists is determined by WVWC, sponsors of the West Virginia Scholar Program, and online voting. The West Virginia Scholar Program will begin accepting next year’s applications on February 10, 2021.

In addition to WVWC and West Virginia MetroNews, the West Virginia Scholar Program is sponsored by Friends of Coal, West Virginia Hospital Association, ZMM Architects & Engineers, RBC Wealth Management, and the West Virginia Farm Bureau.