CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — 27 graduated high school seniors were selected as West Virginia’s third group of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars.

These graduates will be receiving a prestigious scholarship of $10,000 per year, which will be up to $40,000 total for their college education, as they continue to pursue a rewarding career as West Virginia teachers.

“I’m incredibly proud of these young scholars, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next four years and beyond. We worked with the Legislature and Governor Justice three years ago to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. With three cohorts of scholars now pursuing their teaching careers right here at home, we are well on our way to reaching that goal,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education, expressing how happy she is for these graduates.

“I am pleased to congratulate our recent class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars. The teacher shortage in West Virginia and around the country is a challenge. This program, along with our Teach WV Pathways to Teaching initiative, assists us to meet the demand by bringing a highly qualified corps of new teachers into the profession. Each scholar is to be commended for selecting this noble and ever-important career path,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch, who is happy to see these students take their career path so seriously.

The Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program has a system, which is designed to help the issue of the ongoing teacher shortages in the following fields: math, science, special education, and elementary education. The people in this scholarship program must commit to teaching in one of these fields for at least five years after graduation. Each student in this program is paired with a teaching mentor in their classroom to help them become successful. They plan on providing guidance to these students throughout their careers in college.

The graduates that will be starting this program in West Virginia in the fall are as follows:

  • Morgan Billings: from Summers County High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Mickala Brill: from Petersburg High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sophia Cava: from Bridgeport High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sydni Cawley: from Nitro High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stephanie Collins: from Grafton High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Alexis Cook: from Westside High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Bailey Deweese: from Buffalo Putnam High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Autumn Dickerson: from Princeton Senior High School is attending Bluefield State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Hannah Felton: from Keyser High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Claire Flanagan: from Parkersburg High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Morgan Keaton: from Woodrow Wilson High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Isabella Klee: from South Park High School in Pennsylvania is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stephen Loftis: from Sissonville High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Rayegan Loss: from Lincoln High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Keirstin Lyons: from Spring Valley High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Natalie Malone: from St. Marys High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Baylee Muncy: from Man High School is attending the University of Charleston to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Bailey Olinger: from University High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Rebecca Pruett: from Princeton Senior High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Janie Prunty: from Bridgeport High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Keirsten Reich: from South Harrison High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Hazel Riley: from Pocahontas County High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kylea Robinson: from Nitro High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Audrey Simpson: from Clay-Battelle High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Morgan Snyder: from Point Pleasant High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Zoey Steele: from Sherman High School is attending Glenville State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kelsi Wilson Hott: from Petersburg High School is attending Davis & Elkins College to pursue a degree in elementary education.

For high school seniors who want to pursue a career as a teacher in West Virginia, applications are open on July 15, 2022 for the 2023 year. For more information about this scholarship program, please visit collegeforwv.com/underwoodsmith.