MORGANTOWN — When Kamryn Daniels’ school day was briefly interrupted Thursday, she couldn’t have guessed Gov. Jim Justice and his English bulldog, Babydog, were outside waiting for her.
With a bone-shaped check for a full-ride college scholarship in his hand, Justice called Daniels to the front of her classmates to claim her prize as one of the latest winners for round two of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” vaccination sweepstakes.
“I’m extremely happy, very surprised,” said Daniels, a sophomore at MHS. “I don’t really know what else to think.”
The scholarship, valued at more than $100,000, can be used for room and board, tuition and books for any in-state university Daniels chooses to attend. Although graduation is still a few years away, she said she hopes to pursue a degree in psychology or music production.
Regardless of what she chooses to study, her mother, Kirsty Orih, supports her decision.
“We know that she will go on to university, but what she decides to do will really be up to her,” she said. “And her dad and I will just support whatever she does.”
Kirsty said she received a call yesterday asking her to come by the school Thursday, but the reason why wasn’t disclosed. After talking with her husband, Chin Orih, about the phone call and recalling they had registered Daniels for the sweepstakes, she said they put two and two together.
“It was very hard to keep it a secret,” Kirsty said. “[Kamryn] had no idea that we were going to be here or that anything was going to be happening.”
Daniels is among five other students to win full-ride scholarships this week along with nearly 20 other West Virginians who have claimed several other prizes through the sweepstake’s second round.
Chin said his family has been taking COVID-19 seriously and he and Kirsty got vaccinated as soon as it was available. Once Daniels’ age group was eligible, she did the same.
“I would say truly and honestly, a lot of people have been vaccinated and we’re doing fairly well,” Chin said. “I think more people need to just get over the apprehension and get vaccinated.”
Vaccinated West Virginians have four more chances to win in the “Do it for Babydog” Sweepstakes. All residents who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register to win at DoitforBabydog.wv.gov.
“We got 11,000 people vaccinated since the weekend,” Justice said. “That’s big because we’re definitely saving lives, but at the same time, it’s terribly frustrating that we just can’t get people to just say OK and go across the finish line, because the vaccine is so safe.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are available for free to all West Virginians ages 12 and older. More information on where to get vaccinated can be found at Vaccinate.wv.gov.