Scholars: First cohort a boost for West Virginia

West Virginia residents know our public schools are in need of help if they are going to properly educate our kids.

But lawmakers put in place a smart scholarship program that this year is seeing its first group of high school seniors chosen to provide that boost.

The first class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars is made up of 25 young people — including a few from right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley — who will receive a scholarship of up to $10,000 per year, or $40,000 total, for a college education that prepares them for becoming educators in the Mountain State. They must teach math, science, special education, or elementary education here in West Virginia for at least five years after graduation.

“We knew we wanted to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. This cohort is just the beginning, and it’s certainly a bright one,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System.

Indeed lawmakers did something important in moving to address both teacher shortages and the drain of bright young minds from out state.

While we wish this first group good luck and thank them for their commitment to West Virginia, we hope lawmakers will keep an eye on the program — and whether there is room to expand it — as the need to nudge young people toward deciding to move to or stay in West Virginia is likely only to grow.


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