CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Seven north central West Virginian high school students have won a scholarship to continue their education to become teachers.

The 2022 Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars beginning their studies in West Virginia this fall are:  

  • Sophia Cava from Bridgeport High School is attending Fairmont State 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.  
  • Bailey Olinger from University High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.  
  • 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.  
  • Audrey Simpson from Clay-Battelle High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.  
  • Rayegan Loss from Lincoln High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education. 

Each student receives $10,000 per year, or $40,000 total, as they study to become West Virginia’s newest educators. The scholarship is designed to address the state’s teacher shortage.

“I am pleased to congratulate our recent class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “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.” 

Each of the scholarship recipients has committed to teaching in the state for at least five years after graduation in the fields of math, science, special education or elementary education.

For a full list of all the scholarship recipients across the state click here.

For rising high school seniors who want to become a teacher in West Virginia, applications open on July 15, 2022, for the 2023 cohort. Click here for more information.