Top students honored at banquet

A 4.0 GPA is one thing, but, as a group of stellar students showed Sunday night at Cheat Lake, success doesn’t just come from grades.

It comes from the grace by which you live your life.

Top-performing seniors from 15 high schools across the region gathered at the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa, for the

2108 Honor Student Program, sponsored by The Dominion Post, West Virginia Radio Corp. and BB&T Bank.

This was the 59th year for the event, which began in 1959 by way of a TV supplement in The Dominion News, which later became The Dominion Post.

As the recognition has evolved over the years, so too has the collective philosophy of the students selected for the program.

That’s what impresses Dennis Ruscello, a retired WVU professor who has been a judge for the program for the last several years.

During those years as he’s interviewed one class of honorees after the other, he’s seen “me” morph into “we” — and stay there.

The 2018 honorees, for example, he said, aren’t shy about going forth and putting their resumes and their faith in action to make the world a better place.

Their goals, he said, range from cancer research to community development. All want to work with disenfranchised people, in one way or another.

“Every year, our students just get better and better,” he said.

“I’m not sure how that happens. I just know it’s a real motivator for me. You can’t help but feel good after you talk with them. They really do want to make the world a better place.”

Christian Miller, the marker manager for West Virginia Radio Corp., presented awards with Pat Martin, a market president and senior vice president of BB&T.

Jack Logar, a WVAQ radio personality — his station’s parent company is West Virginia Radio Corp. — used his role as emcee to gloriously veer from the script every chance he got.

Martin did some adlibbing of his own.

“I’d wish you good luck,” he said, addressing the honorees, “but I don’t think you’ll need it.”

All students received a $100 check to honor their achievements, and three top winners from each school were announced: First-place winners Olga Hawranick, of East Fairmont High School, and Logan Peck, of South Harrison High School, each earned $2,000 scholarships.

North Marion High’s Adia Kolb and Jacob Cox, of Fairmont Senior, each received a $1,000 scholarship for their second-place awards.

Third-place winners Kylie Bushko, of Fairmont Senior, and Kevin Donnelly, of Morgantown High, were awarded scholarships of $500.

Keith Skaggs, of Graf-ton High, won the $1,000 Faltis Community Service Award Scholarship for his work, which includes extensive outreach ministry at this church. The high school senior is already an accomplished world traveler and hasn’t ruled out missionary work overseas as part of his life’s plan.

His award is named in honor of Morgantown energy magnate John Faltis, who died in a 1997 helicopter crash with his wife, Kathleen. The couple supported several community causes.

Follow The Dominion Post on Twitter@DominionPostWV. Email Jim Bissett: jbissett@dominionpost.com.

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