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Davis & Elkins College creates “Emerging Leaders” scholarship in hopes of keeping young people in West Virginia

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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ELKINS, W.Va (WDTV) - For the last seven years, West Virginia’s population has been rapidly declining.

In fact, the 2020 Census revealed that the state saw the sharpest decline in the country. However, the possible key to unlocking a successful future of growth may rely on young people, as early as high schoolers, in order to achieve the goal.

“Really recognizing high school seniors who have those needed qualities here within West Virginia--leadership and motivation,” president of the Davis & Elkins College, Chris Woods said.

This has become the recent goal for Davis & Elkins College. They are now offering a scholarship that will provide four years of tuition, room and board, all at the value of about $160,000.

The president says with more recent graduates sticking around, it will help provide the upcoming leaders needed to keep the state moving forward.

“We want to keep our best and brightest here in West Virginia, and I think D&E offers the high quality education that can do just that,” Woods said. “They can come here and have a fabulous four years as the Citizens Bank of West Virginia Emerging Leaders scholar, and then they can return to their communities within West Virginia and make a difference for us for decades to come,” he said.

With that in mind, and making an effort to invest in young adults, local officials hope that after students graduate college ‘wild and wonderful’ West Virginia won’t be such a bad destination to land a career.

“For Citizens, this is really exciting for us to be able to invest in our local college and invest in a graduate who could potentially one day be an employee for Citizens or be a local entrepreneur in Elkins or the surrounding area or even in their hometown,” President of Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Nathaniel Bonnell said.

All 2022 West Virginia high school graduates, whether attending a public, private or homeschool, with a 3.25 or higher GPA are eligible to apply. Applicants will be required to submit an essay of between 500 and 1,500 words based on the topic, “If you receive this scholarship, how will you pay it forward to the state of West Virginia?” A list of high school and community involvement activities will also be included in the application. Submissions, accepted through November 15, can be made on WDTV’s website and clicking on Emerging Leaders.

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