North Marion High School senior and American Legion Auxiliary West Virginia Girls State Governor Sidney Megna has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Citizens Bank of West Virginia Emerging Leaders Scholarship to Davis & Elkins College. Megna was among 101 West Virginia students vying for the four-year scholarship that includes tuition, room and board with an approximate value of $160,000.
Megna learned of her selection Wednesday when her parents, Nick and Heather Megna, and a WDTV news crew, along with representatives from D&E, Citizens Bank and the Marion County Board of Education showed up at her school. (view the newscast here.)
“I am super grateful for the opportunity to start this path at Davis & Elkins’ beautiful campus. I love what they have going on there,” Megna said. “What I like about Davis & Elkins is the class ratio from student to professor is 17 to one, so it’s really a place where you’re going to be getting that one-on-one attention that you need. I think eventually, when I’m going on to graduate school, having had that one-on-one attention in my education will be something beneficial.”
D&E, Citizens Bank and WDTV partnered in June to offer the unique opportunity to 2022 West Virginia high school graduates who exemplify leadership and motivation. Top candidates were interviewed by a panel of D&E staff and students. Impressed with the high caliber of applicants, D&E administrators have elected to offer scholarships of varying values to students who scored in the top tier.
“This is an opportunity for us to educate our best and brightest and keep them right here in West Virginia so that they can contribute and make a real difference to the future,” said Davis & Elkins President Chris A. Wood.
At North Marion High School, Megna excels academically and has routinely held multiple leadership roles. Currently, she serves as student body president and held the office of class president each year since she was a freshman. She also is the National Honor Society vice president, a volunteer peer tutor, Student Leader Club member and founder of “The Page Turners” book club. In addition, she has lettered three years as a member of the Huskies varsity basketball team.
A member of North Marion’s community service club, Husky Helpers, Megna extends her service into the local area by volunteering with Marion County Special Olympics, Salvation Army Angel Tree and Haught’s Chapel Church Youth Group.
“At the conclusion of the first year of the Emerging Leaders Scholarship program, we can celebrate the success and outcome,” said Citizens Bank of West Virginia President & CEO Nathaniel S. Bonnell. “We congratulate Sidney Megna on being selected as the recipient of this prestigious award and acknowledge all the worthy students who applied for this scholarship. Citizens Bank is proud to make educational investments in the communities we serve and this partnership with Davis & Elkins College reinforced the importance of investing in our next generation of leaders. Academic excellence and outstanding leadership qualities were demonstrated throughout all of the Emerging Leaders applications.”
At Davis & Elkins, Megna plans to major in political science and later obtain a law degree.
“My career path was influenced heavily by both student government and West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State,” Megna wrote in her scholarship application. “Through these opportunities I have discovered my love for government and public service.”
As part of the competition, students were required to write an essay based on the topic, “If you receive this scholarship, how will you pay it forward to the state of West Virginia?”
In her essay, Megna expressed concerns for West Virginia’s economy, opioid crisis and steady decline in population and said those factors fuel her passion to better the state.
“In order to help secure the prosperity of our wild and wonderful state’s future, I will obtain a degree and practice law, thus catalyzing a career in politics at the state level to create legislation that will cause monumental positive change in West Virginia,” Megna wrote.
She hopes to work as a prosecuting attorney and then as a legislative attorney before pursuing public office. She also plans to encourage youth to gain a deeper understanding of government fundamentals.
“My main focus will always be encouraging the youth to seize opportunities and stay working in West Virginia,” Megan wrote. “As my generation inherits the leadership of our beautiful state, I will work tirelessly to build on everything that has been established and improve in our weaker areas.”