POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Career Center nominated two students for the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar Program CTE (Career and Technical Education).
Hannah Wood and Christopher Smith, both seniors, were the students selected for the program. School Counselor, Carla King said each year, school administrators can nominate one male and one female for the award. Students submit applications, which are then reviewed by a committee to select the top two.
Wood is a student in the agriculture program and is a member of the FFA chapter, the National Technical Honor Society and National Honor Society.
Wood said being part of FFA provided many points for her application with community service and career-based job opportunities.
“(Being nominated) does mean a lot to me because I didn’t think I would be selected for it,” Wood said. “It just shows that all the stuff I’ve done means something and that I’m working toward something.”
Smith is a student in the Project Leads the Way Pre-Engineering program and is a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society and the school’s SkillsUSA club.
Smith said through his courses, he learned about the basics of engineering to help him decide on a career path. Smith said currently he wants to go into neuro-engineering.
“(Being nominated) means everything I’ve done in high school and all the hard work I’ve put in is actually worth it and it’s actually getting me places,” Smith said.
Principal Cheryl Moore said she is glad the career center is able to recruit students like Wood and Smith for their programs.
“These kids are here for almost three hours a day working with us and it doesn’t hurt what they’re doing at their home high schools,” Moore said. “Sometimes it’s perceived that by coming over here, they aren’t going to get what they need to go on to college. I think this shows that we are working with the college-bound student as well as the student that is going straight into the workforce.”
Moore said she is proud of the students and teachers at the career center.
“Our programs are quite difficult, but these two students rise to the challenges and are very successful within our programs,” said Stephen Richardson, the pre-engineering program teacher.
Criteria for the nominees include academic rigor, technical competence, employ-ability skills, and ingenuity and creativity.
Last week, the career center sent the nominees’ applications to the state department. The West Virginia Department of Education will make their selections to send to the national committee.
The 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be announced in May.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.