PARKERSBURG - Two students from Parkersburg and Harrisville are in the newest class of Bucklew Scholars at West Virginia University.
Rebecca Cokeley of Harrisville, a senior at Ritchie County High School, and Ian Collins, Parkersburg, a senior at Parkersburg High School, are among the 20 top-performing high school seniors to receive the esteemed Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship to attend WVU in the fall.
The scholarship, valued at $30,000, provides each student with more than $7,500 per year toward educational costs during his or her four years at WVU.
Cokeley, the daughter of Edward and Gail Cokeley, will graduate in the top 5 percent of her class at Ritchie County. One of Cokeley's greatest accomplishments is her leadership through peer mediation. She was recruited in the sixth grade for the program.
"I learned that peer mediation gives disputing students an opportunity to resolve conflicts in a controlled environment," Cokeley said. "Since the disputants ultimately solve the problem, peer mediation is more effective than traditional punishments in preventing further fights."
Cokeley excelled in the peer mediation program, bringing it to high school and even educating high school teachers on the program. Because of her involvement, two other school districts decided to install peer mediation programs. In her time at WVU, Cokeley hopes to get involved with a research project involving sustainable energy. She hopes a degree in engineering from WVU will help her accomplish these goals.
Ian Collins, son of Robert and Jann Collins, will graduate in the top 5 percent of his class at Parkersburg High with more than nine Advanced Placement classes under his belt. Collins, who is also Student Council president and vice president of his National Honor Society, considers his most important leadership activity to be his community service as an Eagle Scout.
"I needed to plan and carry out a project that would better my community in some way," Collins said. "I decided to perform an amateur remodeling and painting of my church's youth room. It was my responsibility to acquire the necessary materials for caulking, spackling and painting the walls and ceiling of the youth room. I also assembled a group of volunteers that would assist me with the remodeling process.
"We were able to complete the project on the second day, after a total of 20 hours was required for the planning and completion of the project."
Collins hopes to travel to South America on a study abroad experience while studying petroleum engineering.
He anticipates that this experience will help him in his quest to master the Spanish language in addition to exploring different techniques in South America.
Neil S. Bucklew, the scholarship's creator, served as WVU's 20th president from 1986 to 1995. The scholarships are part of the University's comprehensive awards program and are supported, in part, by the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.
The students are eligible for the top academic award, the Foundation Scholarship, which is awarded to five of the Bucklew Scholars.
Foundation scholars will be announced in May.
Other Bucklew scholars are:
Tiffany Benjamin, Wardensville, East Hardy High School
Andy Bowles, Princeton, Princeton Senior High School
Jordan Chapman, Hurricane, Hurricane High School
Mohamed Feliachi, Morgantown, Morgantown High School
Michael Fouts, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School
Mouaz Haffar, Charleston, George Washington High School
Sundus Lateef, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School
Jennifer Mangano, Chester, Oak Glen High School
Jacob McCoy, Man, Man High School
Joshua McPherson, Fairmont, Fairmont Senior High School
Joseph Mills, Princeton, Princeton High School
Dillon Muhly-Alexander, West Union, Doddridge County High School
Julie Peng, Culloden, Hurricane High School
Adam Richardson, South Charleston, South Charleston High School
Emma van der Aarde, Martinsburg, Martinsburg High School
Janelle Vickers, Moundsville, John Marshall High School
Katherine Warner, Morgantown, University High School
Benjamin Wilson, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School