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Foundation honors scholarship recipients

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Brittany Neil had two jobs during her senior year of high school: keeping her grades up and applying for college scholarships.

Now, after her first semester of studying psychology at West Virginia University, she's reaping the benefits of both.

"I rely on scholarships completely to go to WVU," said Neil, who finished the semester with a 4.0 GPA. "It's relieved so much of the stress and I'm able to focus on studying."

Of her scholarships, one that means a lot to the Nitro High School graduate is through the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Neil received the David Andrew Hood scholarship, named after a Nitro student killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was 16.

Neil said her brother knew Hood. "[The scholarship] is very special to me," she said.

On Wednesday, Neil and around 120 other scholars from around the state were recognized during a reception at the West Virginia Culture Center.

Each student had received a scholarship from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito spoke at the reception, commenting that the work the foundation does in giving funding scholarships has an effect that reaches far beyond the Kanawha Valley.

The foundation gives more than 400 scholarships a year, most of which are award based on academics and paid for by private donors, said Becky Ceperley, president and CEO of the foundation.

"We invited the recipients to be here today to honor them, to take a tour of the governor's mansion, and to celebrate the holidays," Ceperley said.

Like the David Hood scholarship, many are given in honor of students who have died, she said. Other donors give because they recognize the importance of education and the difficulty students have paying for it.

Dayton Carpenter, of Charleston, is both a donor to the David Hood scholarship and a board member for the foundation. His sister Debbie Hood, the mother of David Hood, passed away in September 2010 and Carpenter is carrying on the tradition of sponsoring the scholarship, he said.

"I know [Debbie] would want the whole family to be here so I brought my mother and sister," Carpenter said. "This is about my sister, it really is. And it's about Brittany ... we're really excited and we're excited for her."

Students who are interested in applying for a scholarship through the foundation can go to the agency's website at www.tgkvf.org. The application deadline for next year is in January and the scholarships are announced in March.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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