Bluefield College recently hosted some of the region’s most outstanding high school students, who competed for full scholarships to attend the private Christian college as part of the school’s spring Presidential Scholars Day.
The 12 exceptional high school students in Bluefield’s prospective student pool spent an hour and a half developing a written composition during an essay competition portion of Presidential Scholars Day, and then went before a Presidential Scholarship Committee to respond to questions during an interview segment of the event.
Following an evaluation period and based on their academic credentials, essays and interviews, two of the prospective students — Wully Rojas of Woodbridge, Virginia, and Anna Sale of Yadkinville, North Carolina — were selected to receive the school’s most valuable scholarship award, the full ride Presidential Scholarship.
“The Presidential Scholarship is reserved for the most deserving prospective students and is the most coveted student scholarship award,” said BC’s Mark Hipes, director of traditional admissions. “It covers everything — full tuition, room, and board.”
The Presidential Scholarships are worth $27,780 a year for a four-year total award of $111,120. To even compete for the award students must have a 3.75 cumulative high school grade point average and a 1,100 composite math and verbal SAT score or a 25 ACT score. They also must submit two letters of recommendation from current teachers.
In addition to meeting those qualifications, Rojas is president of Future Educators of America, chair of the Marketing and Communications for America Club, and a member of the Key Club at Forest Park High School. She also is a member of the French Honor Society and was named the Outstanding Language Arts Student, Outstanding Information Technology Student, and Stellar Math Student. Outside of school, she volunteers for Feed the Firefighters and Breakfast with Santa.
Sale is a cheerleader and drum major for the Forbrush High School Marching Band. She also has served as vice president and secretary of the school’s Student Council and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Bible Club. In addition, she has competed in the Quiz Bowl and Science Olympiad.
While not President Scholars, Allyson Armbrester of Stuart, Virginia, Chelsea Hardy of Stuart, Virginia, Meredith Simkins of Hampton, Virginia, Tyler Snow of Fancy Gap, Virginia, and Elisabeth Willson of Amissville, Virginia, earned Spire Scholarships during BC’s Presidential Scholars Day to cover half their expenses to attend the college. Symbolically named to represent the spire on BC’s Harman Chapel, Spire Scholarships are valued at $14,000 a year for a four-year total award of $56,000.
“The steeple, oftentimes rising above roof tops and tree lines — as does Harman Chapel’s as you arrive into Bluefield — reminds all of us of something beyond ourselves,” said BC President David Olive. “It reminds us of Christ’s presence among us in the communities in which we live, work and serve, a presence that we embody through our acts of love, kindness, grace and forgiveness. I believe it is most appropriate that Bluefield College has this prominent, powerful vestige on its campus, for it truly represents who we are and what we aspire to be.”
Armbrester is president of Patrick County High School’s Future Farmers of America, where she has won state and national awards in landscape design. She also is a member of PCHS’s girls’ soccer team and the school’s praise and worship team. Outside of school, she is an award-winning member of the Girl Scouts.
Hardy is member of the girls’ soccer team and the Beta Club at Patrick County High School. She also has been named to the PCHS Principal’s List every semester since her freshman year. Outside of school, she is an active member of the Calvary Baptist Church Youth Group and a summer volunteer for Camp Evangel.
Simkins, a home-school student, is an award-winning artist with honors in pencil, oil, pastel, wearable, and three-dimensional art at the Virginia State Fair Youth Arts and Crafts Competition. When she’s not studying or creating art, she volunteers with Appalachia Service Project and mission trips to Guatemala and France.
Snow is a member of the Carroll County High School National Honor Society and president of his senior class and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also is a member of the CCHS boys’ baseball team and the Dixie Youth Recreation League’s All-Star baseball squad, where he helped lead that team to a state championship and a bid to play in the Dixie League World Series.
Willson is a home-school student who is also enrolled at Lord Fairfax Community College. A gifted musician, she teaches piano and started her own music school. She’s also a member of 4-H and an active volunteer for Toys for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The remaining five students selected to compete in the Presidential Scholars competition — Dillon Bess of Covington, Virginia, Nyssa Coffman of Hampstead, New Hampshire, Ethan Liddle of Galax, Virginia, Kendra Morris of Rural Retreat, Virginia, and Sydney Sullivan of Charles Town, West Virginia — received other competitive financial aid packages.
Bluefield’s Presidential Scholars Day also included a luncheon for the prospective students and their families, along with a keynote address from Dr. Tom Kinney, associate professor of history, who spoke about the benefits of a Christ-centered liberal arts education.