Our communities, our state and our nation need strong leaders, and Davis & Elkins College is committed to training them. After all, we are named for two United States senators and our tagline is “Leading the Way.” When we birthed a new scholarship competition in 2021, it simply had to focus on leadership.

The “Citizens Bank of West Virginia Emerging Leaders Scholarship” provides one fortunate West Virginian with a full scholarship to D&E. With gratitude to our partners, Citizens Bank of West Virginia and WDTV Channel 5, those in northcentral West Virginia can’t miss the many commercials running on local television. The best and brightest high school seniors across our region are applying to D&E and competing for this prestigious scholarship which requires an essay addressing: “How will you pay forward to West Virginia the investment made in you.” The 2022 scholarship competition is now underway.

Sidney Megna is the 2021 scholarship winner and now a freshman at D&E. A graduate of North Marion High School, Sidney is an excellent student, served as the president of her high school student body, and was elected governor of Rhododendron Girl’s State held each summer at Davis & Elkins College. In a recent interview, Sidney said she chose D&E because of its welcoming environment and the feeling of home. The small classroom environment, the one-on-one engagement with faculty, the internship and leadership opportunities, and the role models on campus give her great faith in her collegiate success and career opportunities that will follow.

A political science major with a minor in pre-law, she chose this course of study to provide a foundation in the understanding of public policy and to prepare her for law school. Her career goal is not only to practice law, but also serve in public office within her home state. About West Virginia, young Ms. Megna is passionate. She wrote, “This state is experiencing a loss of youth at an alarming rate, primarily due to the presumed lack of opportunity and generalizations about our citizenry. I am tired of seeing the state I love suffer, and I am ready to fight to show West Virginia’s capabilities. I want to show the rest of the nation what truly makes our state ‘Almost Heaven.’”

Sidney gives me hope for our future and makes me grateful to lead a college that is preparing our next generation of leaders. I fully expect to be casting a vote in the coming years for Governor Megna to lead West Virginia and make her alma mater proud.

I will give Sidney the final words in this week’s column. This was her response when asked what advice she would give a high school student considering D&E: “This campus has a spot for you! Regardless of your background, interests or skills, Davis & Elkins College is ready to mold your college experience into what works best for you and prepare a successful path beyond these four years. At D&E you are more than just a number; you are an individual. The professors are brilliant, the students are incredible and the campus is beautiful. Enjoy your senior year, study hard, make memories, and I’ll see you next year on the D&E campus. Go Senators!”

The journey continues….

Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College