Bluefield College 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 Presidential Scholars Day, Saturday, March 5.
The 12 exceptional high school students in Bluefield’s prospective student pool — Allyson Armbrester of Stuart, Virginia; Dillon Bess of Covington, Virginia; Nyssa Coffman of Hampstead, New Hampshire; Chelsea Hardy of Stuart, Virginia; Ethan Liddle of Galax, Virginia; Kendra Morris of Rural Retreat, Virginia; Wully Rojas of Woodbridge, Virginia; Anna Sale of Yadkinville, North Carolina; Meredith Simkins of Hampton, Virginia; Tyler Snow of Fancy Gap, Virginia; Sydney Sullivan of Charles Town, West Virginia; and Elisabeth Willson of Amissville, Virginia — 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.
To even compete for the Presidential Scholarships, the students had to 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 had to submit two letters of recommendation from current teachers. The rigorous application process, said Mark Hipes, BC’s director of traditional admissions, is reserved for the best prospective students and the most coveted student scholarship award.
“The Presidential Scholarship covers everything — full tuition, room, and board,” said Hipes. “It’s our most prized scholarship reserved for the most deserving students.”
Following an evaluation period and based on their academic credentials, essays and interviews, two of the prospective students will be selected to receive the school’s most valuable scholarship award, the full ride Presidential Scholarship. Five will earn Spire Scholarships to cover half their expenses to attend BC. The remaining five students will receive other competitive financial aid packages.
BC Presidential Scholarships are worth $27,780 a year for a four-year total award of $111,120. Spire Scholarships, symbolically named to represent the spire on BC’s Harman Chapel, 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, Dr. 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.”
BC’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.
Of the 12 outstanding high school students competing for the BC scholarships, 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.
Bess is a member of the Beta Club, Key Club, and Students for Christ Club at Alleghany High School. He also is an All-Blue Ridge District member of the boys’ soccer team and a member of the AHS indoor track team.
Coffman, who’s earning her secondary education through home-schooling, has studied abroad in London and Oxford and is involved a variety of theatrical endeavors, creating sets, designing costumes, and performing on stage. In addition, she helps teach English as a second language and enjoys archery, tap, and ballet.
Hardy is member of the girls’ soccer team and the Beta Club at Patrick County High School. She has also 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.
Liddle is a member of the Beta Club and an All-District member of the boys’ varsity soccer team at Grayson High School. He also is an award-winning member of Future Farmers of America, where he has earned national recognition for his competition in agricultural mechanics. In addition, he is a youth group leader at Longview United Methodist Church.
Morris is an award-winning member of Rural Retreat High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a member of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), and the RRHS chapter of the National Honor Society. She is also a cheerleader and captain of her school’s dance team.
Rojas is president of Future Educators of America, chair of 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 cheerleader and drum major for the Forbrush High School Marching Band. She has also 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.
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.
Sullivan, a home-school student, enjoys drawing and writing stories and plays. In fact, she has co-written and performed two plays and is currently writing a novel. She also is an accomplished pianist and violinist.
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.