CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Principals, counselors and staff from 38 high schools across West Virginia were recognized Tuesday at the West Virginia Culture Center for efforts to inform students of higher education opportunities after graduating.

Presented annually by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, a record-breaking number of schools received the “Champion of College Access and Success” recognition award for schools that go above and beyond to help students and their families plan for education or training after high school.

“It was great to hear how these counselors, administrators, teachers and staff at our 38 Champion schools work hard to foster a future-focused culture within the school community,” Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education, said.

Tucker said staff at West Virginian high schools work diligently to help students reach higher, however, the schools recognized this year have exceeded expectations in helping their students understand the importance of post-secondary education and the opportunities that come with a degree or training beyond a high school diploma.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, together with the community and Technical College System of West Virginia (CTCS), provided financial aid and college application information, training and support to high schools, and event-planning assistance. 

Especially with the statewide college-going rate dropping to 45.9 percent for last year’s graduating class, Tucker engaged attendees in a discussion about their students’ unique challenges around pursuing higher education and how their schools are working to overcome them.

“It is so important that we share ideas and work together to help students pursue their academic goals and ensure our state’s workforce remains competitive,” Tucker said. “I want to thank these schools for going the extra mile to help students and their families discover the many post-secondary education and career pathways available for students in West Virginia.”  

For high schools to be considered a Champion of College Access and Success, they must participate in three planning milestone events during the school year: 

  1. College Application and Exploration Week 
  2. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Campaign 
  3. College Decision Day Event 

Each of these milestones has specific components to help students in West Virginia continue their education after high school.

The schools receiving the Champion recognition this year are: 

  • Braxton County High School 
  • Bridgeport High School 
  • Buffalo High School 
  • Cameron High School 
  • Cross Lanes Christian School 
  • Doddridge County High School 
  • George Washington High School 
  • Greenbrier East High School 
  • Herbert Hoover High School 
  • Hundred High School 
  • Hurricane High School 
  • Jefferson High School 
  • Liberty High School (Raleigh) 
  • Logan Senior High School 
  • Man Senior High School 
  • Martinsburg High School 
  • Mingo Central Comprehensive High School 
  • Mount View High School 
  • Musselman High School 
  • Nicholas County High School 
  • Paw Paw High School 
  • Pendleton County Middle/High School 
  • Poca High School 
  • Princeton High School 
  • Ravenswood High School 
  • Richwood High School 
  • River View High School 
  • Roane County High School 
  • Scott High School 
  • Shady Spring High School 
  • Sherman High School 
  • St. Marys High School 
  • Tolsia High School 
  • Tucker County High School 
  • Tyler Consolidated High School 
  • Wahama High School 
  • West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind 
  • Winfield High School 

As a collaborative effort among the Commission and CTCS, the West Virginia Department of Education, WorkForce West Virginia, and the private sector, the statewide campaign “West Virginia’s Climb” supports Gov. Jim Justice’s goal to have 60 percent of the state’s workforce prepared with a formal credential beyond high school by 2030.