Principals, counselors receive state’s first ‘Champion of College Access and Success’ Awards
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Principals, counselors and staff from 24 high schools across West Virginia today are being recognized for their schools’ efforts to make students aware of higher education opportunities after they graduate. The inaugural “Champion of College Access and Success” recognition awards were presented by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to select schools that go the extra mile to help students and their families plan for college.
Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, interim chancellor of the Commission, said staff at every high school in West Virginia are working hard to help the state reach its goal of a 60-percent post-secondary education attainment rate by the year 2030; however, these schools have been especially active at helping their students understand what opportunities are available after high school.
“We’re proud to say that Champion schools put the success of their students first and their efforts to prepare them for a certificate or degree after they graduate will play a key part in helping West Virginia reach our 60 percent goal,” she said. “We’ve all got to work harder to bridge the education gap to ensure the state’s workforce remains competitive. I want to thank all of these schools for helping their students realize they have tremendous opportunity in their state.”
Dr. Steven L. Paine, state superintendent of schools, said, “Congratulations to the Champion schools that are the first to be honored with this award. The high schools must be commended for their commitment to making sure students not only have an understanding of their post-secondary options, but also have a plan and strategy for achieving these goals after high school,” he said. “I look forward to the continued spirit of collaboration between the Department of Education and the Higher Education Policy Commission in reaching this lofty goal. I know when we all work together, West Virginians can do anything.”
For high schools to be considered a Champion of College Access and Success, they must participate in three college-planning milestone events during the school year:
- College Application and Exploration Week
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Campaign
- College Decision Day Event
Each of these milestones has specific components to help college-bound students in West Virginia make the transition to college. The Higher Education Policy Commission provides financial aid and college application information, training and support to high schools, as well as event-planning assistance.
The schools receiving the first Champion recognition are:
- Bridgeport High School, Harrison County
- Cabell Midland High School, Cabell County
- Fairmont Senior High School, Marion County
- Hannan High School, Mason County
- Huntington High School, Cabell County
- Liberty High School, Raleigh County
- Martinsburg High School, Berkeley County
- Mingo Central High School, Mingo County
- Moorefield High School, Hardy County
- Paw Paw High School, Morgan County
- Poca High School, Putnam County
- Ravenswood High School, Jackson County
- Richwood High School, Nicholas County
- Scott High School, Boone County
- Tug Valley High School, Mingo County
- Tyler Consolidated High School, Tyler County
- Valley High School, Fayette County
- Van Junior-Senior High School, Boone County
- Wahama High School, Mason County
- Webster County High School, Webster County
- Westside High School, Wyoming County
- Winfield High School, Putnam County
- Wirt County High School, Wirt County
- Wyoming County High School, Wyoming County
Gov. Jim Justice in 2018 set the goal to have 60 percent of the state’s workforce with a formal education credential beyond high school by the year 2030. That statewide campaign, known as “West Virginia’s Climb,” is a collaborative effort between the Commission, the West Virginia Department of Education, WorkForce West Virginia, and the private sector. Currently, the state post-secondary achievement rate is about 34 percent. Tucker and Paine said they agree post-secondary awareness must start early and be at the forefront at all the state’s high schools.
For more information about Champions of College Access and Success and college planning events, visit the College Foundation of West Virginia’s website at cfwvconnect.com/champion. The College Foundation of West Virginia, the student services face of the Higher Education Policy Commission, is a partner in West Virginia’s Climb. For more information about The Climb, visit www.wvclimb.com.