WV Press InSight Videos

Martinsburg senior needed full ride and got it

Student Spotlight is a weekly feature highlighting the best and the brightest at area schools. It appears each Tuesday in The Journal. To nominate a student for Student Spotlight, contact Katiann Marshall at [email protected]; 304-263-3381, ext. 182; or www.twitter.com/kmarshallJN.

Photo submitted to The Journal WVU Foundation Scholar winner, David Laub, stands inside Martinsburg High School Thursday morning.
Photo submitted to The Journal
WVU Foundation Scholar winner, David Laub, stands inside Martinsburg High School Thursday morning.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Senior David Laub of Martinsburg High School always knew he wanted to go to college, but he knew he had to work hard in order to make that dream a reality.

“From a young age when they start putting you into gifted programs, I knew that I could go to college and that wouldn’t be an issue. But….we were kind of in the hole for quite a while until recently. Because of that, we really didn’t have a chance to save for college. So, I was really relying on scholarships and hoping that it would work out that way,” Laub said.

Luckily for Laub, it did work out that way, in a really big way actually. Laub was recently named one of West Virginia University’s latest Foundation Scholars.

Laub and four other high school seniors from West Virginia, were awarded over $80,000 to cover college costs for four years of undergraduate studies, including tuition and fees, room and board and a book stipend.

Each scholar also received a $4,500 stipend to be used to study abroad or for academic enhancement opportunities such as internships.

The Foundation Scholarship, which was established in 1987, is given to students who meet a rigorous set of criteria. In order to qualify for the award, a student must be a state resident, possess a minimum GPA of 3.8 and achieve a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or 1,340 on the SAT college entrance exams.

Laub was selected from a pool of 19 high school seniors who were awarded the Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship, valued at $32,000 over four years of undergraduate studies. The Bucklew Scholars visited campus over two days in early April and interviewed with the selection committee for consideration for the Foundation Scholarship.

Laub traveled to Morgantown last week where he spent two days on campus and attended a dinner and celebration for the Foundation Scholars.

“It is really like a dream come true because when you’re younger your parents are always like, ‘yeah, get that full-ride,’ you know. But in that sense, it never takes on like a real tangible quality until you’re there and it’s happening,” Laub said.

Laub said when the financial aid representative from WVU called him, he was anxiously waiting on the other end of the line.

“He said ‘Hey,’ and he was doddling a little bit. He was like, ‘So how is your day going?’ He was really trying to milk it. It felt like 10 minutes but it was only really like 30 seconds. And then when he tells you that you were selected as one of the recipients, it’s just a huge weight off your shoulders,” Laub said.

After he received the call, Laub said he knew he had to call his mom.

“I was on my way to soccer practice when I got the call and right after I called my mom and she burst into tears at work and it was really emotional for her too,” Laub said.

Laub plans to pursue dual degrees in biochemistry and English literature. He will also minor in Spanish.

Laub said he chose biochemistry because he has always wanted to be a doctor, especially after learning about a little boy affected by cancer.

“I went to a Relay for Life fundraiser and they have the luminaria and the names of the cancer victims on there and one kept showing up,” Laub said. “He was a 6 year old with lymphnoid cancer and I didn’t think that was fair because I mean he is 6 years old. He should be in the first grade, chasing kids on the playground, not worrying about whether or not he is going to live to see another day. And so that’s what really has motivated me to be a doctor,” Laub said.

Laub said he chose biochemistry specifically because he was told it takes a special kind of person to be a doctor, and if at some point he cannot handle it, he would still be able to make a difference through research.

As for English literature, Laub said growing up his life was filled with books which has fueled a passion for literature.

“I just love reading. I loved it since I was a little kid,” Laub said.

The thought to minor in Spanish came because Laub became fluent in the language during his time in high school. Laub said his Spanish teacher help pushed him to become fluent.

“I had a really good teacher, Emily Aragon, and the way she runs her classes is you are only allowed to speak Spanish and I am pretty talkative so I thought, ‘well, I could either talk in English and have my grade docked or I can just learn Spanish and still talk all I want,” Laub said.

Laub said he placed into the third-level of Spanish at WVU and he also believes that it will help him communicate better with people in the career path he chooses.

Laub hopes to use his study abroad stipend to travel to Spain where he can use his Spanish, experience the culture and see one of his favorite soccer teams play a game.

Principal Trent Sherman said he is excited for Laub and that he is very deserving.

“David is one of our many excellent students that we have. He is involved in a lot, he played soccer, he is involved in a lot of clubs here at school, he took a lot of the upper-level classes with AP (advanced placement) and what not. He is just a great student,” Sherman said.

“But not only is he great academically, he is always willing to help out any TA’s (teacher aides), and our guidance office. So he was always running errands and doing things for our secretaries and teachers. He is a great person,” Sherman added.

Teacher Jodi Kissner said she had Laub for AP biology and that he was one of the best students she has ever had.

“He is very curious. He works very hard and is very motivated. He motivates himself and he makes sure that all of his ducks are in a row. All of this work for getting these scholarships and stuff, he did this himself. Which is amazing,” Kissner said.

“He spent the entire year preparing himself, job shadowing, making sure he knew what he wanted to do and how to achieve it and we just don’t see that out of too many students,” Kissner added.

Laub said his persistence to be a driven person and to not give up stems from his competitive nature.

“I think it comes from a desire to make sure I do things right, and that came from playing competitive sports. If I didn’t try my hardest in practice or when I worked out, I’d feel like I was cheating myself and my teammates. So that has translated into my school work as well,” Laub said.

-Staff Writer Katiann Marshall can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 182 or at Twitter.com/kmarshallJN.

To read more from The Journal, subscribe here. 

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter