Buckhannon, WV—A 2018 West Virginia Metro News Scholar finalist is already making an impact at Wesleyan and in the local community. Flemington’s Courtney Gray, a freshman psychology and religious studies major, recently started a new project on West Virginia Wesleyan’s campus: Cards for Hospitalized Kids.
“Once in the fall and once in the spring, I was able to organize a day where students could sign cards for kids that are, unfortunately, in the hospital. This project means a lot to me, and I couldn’t have done it without the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development’s (CCE) help.”
A service scholar, Gray cited this position as key to acclimating to life at WVWC as a freshman: “Coming to a new school, not knowing anyone—it can be intimidating. But being able to meet 30+ people before classes began gave me a world of confidence that I could never properly express my gratitude for. Being able to get into the community and make a change that I can see lets me know my work is never looked over.”
Additionally, Gray is a part of United Varsity and the WE LEAD Human Rights team on campus. WE LEAD, she said, allowed her another avenue to have positive impact on the world: “Having a small group of people that I know care about the world in the same ways that I do let me be able to express myself in a way that makes a change. It is one thing to not agree with something going on in the world, it’s another to make a difference. Thankfully, I get to create that change with two of my closest friends.”
Gray also plays on the school’s marching band, something she takes pride in. “Being involved in the marching band allows me to bring my favorite thing from high-school onward,” she explained. “My high school director, Chris Rucker, always reminded us about what we are: a band. We need to band together in difficult times, not just when we are on the football field performing a half-time show. Here at Wesleyan, the atmosphere is no different. I have not only made friends in the band—I have found people I can count on. I know if I ever need anything, they will be there.”
When asked about why she chose WVWC over other possible schools, Gray had this to say: “Whenever I am asked why I chose Wesleyan, I can never give an appropriate answer. Other schools were under my radar, but I always came back to Wesleyan. I am all about making pro and con charts. When I compared here to other schools, I had no cons. WVWC has so many opportunities. If you have a vision, they have the resources to make it a reality. They give you a chance to express yourself in ways you normally would not be able to do alone.” She also praised the beauty of the campus and the kindness of faculty on campus, saying, “Since I came here, I have realized many things. From the beautiful campus, to the friendliness of everyone here, but there is one thing that tops it all off—the genuine energy. The faculty and staff here really do want to help. No matter who they are or what they do, they care.”
After graduation, Gray already has a few plans in mind. “I plan on attending graduate school and seminary after graduation. I have not decided where, but I know God will direct me to the right place. Ultimately, I want to be a youth pastor. As for psychology, that may be pastoral counseling, children’s counseling, a professor—who knows, maybe here—or something in between.”
The 2020 West Virginia Scholar competition is now underway. The fist-place winner receives a four-year full scholarship to attend Wesleyan. There are also scholarship prizes for the first and second runner-up as well as all finalists. To submit your application go to www.wvscholar.com. The application deadline has been extended to June 1. The West Virginia Scholar program is sponsored by MVB Bank, West Virginia Hospital Association, West Virginia Forestry Association, Friends of Coal, West Virginia Metro News, and West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Story written by Ali Householder, sophomore intern at West Virginia Wesleyan College.