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West Virginia Department of Education, First Lady and United Way Recognize Ball Toyota Scholars

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) joined the Office of First Lady Cathy Justice and the United Way to honor Ball Toyota Family Scholars during a luncheon ceremony earlier today. The scholars are a part of the Communities In Schools (CIS) program, and they will receive four-year scholarships from the Ball Family of Dealerships to meet their needs while in college.

Each year, CIS offers students throughout West Virginia robust supports to address their academic needs and prevent them from dropping out of school. Additionally, these students can rely on a sustained infrastructure to support their social-emotional, developmental and basic needs. CIS site coordinators serve as champions for children to empower them to stay connected to their communities and schools until they graduate. The program is currently in all 55 counties and impacts 114,000 students in 272 schools.

Each of the eight students honored during the luncheon have benefited from CIS, and are now preparing to further their education with the support of the Ball Family Scholarship. All of the students have received the Promise Scholarship and other grants from their universities. Ball Toyota is providing a scholarship to cover the additional cost of their education, which will amount to several tens of thousands of dollars over the next four years. The flexible scholarships will meet the individual students’ needs and university requirements throughout their college careers.

The scholars are:

Scholar’s NameHigh SchoolCountyCollege Attending
Olivia GreathouseRipley High SchoolJackson CountyWest Virginia University
Kenneth PowellMount View High SchoolMcDowell CountyConcord University
Megan GriffeyTug Valley High SchoolMingo CountyMarshall University
Jessica AndersonLiberty High SchoolRaleigh CountyWest Virginia Technical Institute
Daisy HatcherLiberty High SchoolRaleigh CountyWest Virginia Tech Institute
Laney FletcherElkins High SchoolRandolph CountyMarshall University
Whitney OsborneRitchie County High SchoolRitchie CountyMarshall University
Abigail WyerGrafton High SchoolTaylor CountyWest Virginia University

The Ball Toyota Family Scholarship was created by Ball Toyota President Shawn Ball to alleviate hardships families face in West Virginia. “We want to raise awareness by highlighting the critical issues in our communities and provide an avenue of support for children to succeed,” Ball said. “My brother, David, and I grew up in Boone County, and we know that when difficulties arise among vulnerable children, the results can be devastating and can last a lifetime. We are working with our partners to build a brighter pathway for students, schools and communities.”

“Communities In Schools has worked wonders for our children,” said First Lady Cathy Justice. “We are thrilled that Ball Toyota has joined us and continues to meet important needs of our children. They are examples of how businesses and communities partner to invest in our schools and our students. Shawn and David Ball know that it takes all of us to step in and step up to help children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves struggling to overcome challenging odds.”

“We must continue to build bridges of support for our students in our public schools,” said State Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt. “The pillars of these bridges are corporate partners like the Ball Family, organizations such as Communities In Schools and our education community that stand together and provide resources that previously did not exist. We are proud of these scholars and thank the Ball Family for its continued dedication to our children.”

The Ball Family contributed more than $500,000 to support the CIS pantries across the state earlier this school year which has become an annual event, now in its third year. These resources ensure students have access to essential items like food, clothing and hygiene products.

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