BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon-Upshur High School junior is a finalist in a state-wide contest to win a four-year scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Sydney Maxwell learned Monday that she was one of 10 finalists in the 10th annual MetroNews West Virginia Scholar Program to win tuition, fees, room and board at Wesleyan for four years totaling $160,000.
“I was shocked when the finalists were announced yesterday,” she said. “I was blessed just to get to the semifinals but to think out of everyone that applied for this in the state, that I would be in the top 10 it is crazy.”
Maxwell said she began her college search looking at in-state schools to take advantage of the Promise Scholarship. She also wanted to look at small schools but beyond that Maxwell said she was undecided.
“I had no idea where to start,” she said. “My brother had done this scholarship contest, so I thought why not go ahead and try and we will see what happens.”
Maxwell holds a 4.25 grade point average, and is a member of the B-UHS varsity volleyball team. Last year she was a member of the girls’ track team.
Earlier this month, Maxwell was inducted into the National Honor Society and has been a three-year member of the Youth Leadership Association.
For 2017-2018, she was elected to the senior class treasurer position.
Participating in sports and other activities while balancing her school work is something Maxwell said has prepared her for college.
“It has taught me time management,” she said. “This past year, I took two AP courses and I was told we were going to discuss in class but you have to do the reading and all the work on your own. It took me by surprise, but that is what college is going to be like so I feel like I am more prepared now.”
Maxwell’s father, Dave, said it goes without saying that her family is very proud of her but says she did it on her own.
“I think she made it there based on her diligence with her studies,” he said. “Not only that, but she is an all-around good kid. She has participated in sports and volunteers her time at South Buckhannon Mission Church teaching Vacation Bible School. She started doing a mission trip with Upshur Helping Hands in McDowell County last year.”
Dave Maxwell said Sydney interacts well with others and rises to the challenge of learning new things.
“She is her own, unique person and is learning how to share that with the community as well as her friends,” he said. “She is dedicated to her friends and is just a sweet kid.”
Maxwell is always willing to help and that has been shown in numerous ways, even in being tapped by teachers to help work with her peers in classes over the years.
Dave Maxwell said her parents are also proud of Sydney because of the person she has become, because of the traits she exudes and the qualities she carries out.
“She is going to have an effect on this world in some way,” he said. “Her ideal goal is she wants to do something with elderly to help in some form. I think in whatever role she chooses, she will do something to help people.”
Maxwell said she is currently looking at exercise science as a major and then pursuing physical therapy.
Log on to www.wvscholar.com to vote for Maxwell and see videos from her and her parents, Dave and Teresa Maxwell. The votes count for about 10 percent of the final overall score, according to a press release. Only one vote per IP address will be counted and the voter will receive an email confirmation asking them to confirm their vote.
As of Tuesday, Maxwell had over 200 votes in the competition and is hoping to spread the word more.
“I have put a message on all forms of social media that I have,” she said. “I have contacted my church and we are going to see if we can get a slide on the Powerpoint during announcements. It is on the electronic board at the high school and we will see if we can get it on the middle school sign. It will also be read during announcements at B-UHS for this last week of school.”
Other finalists are Kylee Casto of Ripley High School, Presley Fisher of Ripley High School, Chloe Hibbs of Hampshire High School, Madison Martin of Winfield High School, Madisen Miles of Robert C. Byrd High School, River Myers of Richwood High School, Uriah Myers of Richwood High School, Christopher Neil of Ripley High School and Baylee Senator of Chapmanville High School.
The winners will be announced at a June 21 luncheon at the college. In addition to the grand prize, two other awards are given out. Second prize is a four-year, $5,000 scholarship, and third prize is a four-year, $2,500 scholarship to Wesleyan. The scholarship awards begin with the fall 2018 semester.
Sponsors for the contest include MetroNews, West Virginia Wesleyan and the Culpepper Scholar Award, West Virginia Hospital Association, ZMM Architects and Engineers, the West Virginia Forestry Association, Jim Goolsby and Ed Stike with RBC Wealth Management, the West Virginia Farm Bureau and Friends of Coal.