Disappointment pretty much sums up my feelings about the way in which The Morgan Messenger handled a press release last week. Yes, I write this letter as a biased parent but feel that the readership as well as the parents of all the Morgan County students in grades K-11 might be interested as well.
Our daughter Chelsea is a 17-year-old who just completed her junior year at Berkeley Springs High and entered the West Virginia Scholar scholarship competition in March for a four-year, all tuition and fees paid scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College valued at more than $90,000.
This is a rare scholarship for juniors only. Many parents and students begin looking at scholarships in the fall of the student’s senior year, but it would have been too late for this opportunity. The competition received well over 100 participants and we were ecstatic that Chelsea was selected as one of 12 finalists — and the only student from the eight Eastern Panhandle counties.
The competition involved an application which included academic information from Berkeley Springs High School and letters of recommendation as well as the student’s extracurricular and community involvement, an essay and a videotaped interview. The final phase of the competition is online voting. This is where my issue with this newspaper begins.
A press release from WV MetroNews and West Virginia Wesleyan, sponsors of the competition, was submitted to three area newspapers on May 27, but only two printed them as submitted. The Morgan Messenger stated it does not print website addresses and altered the press release that would have been helpful to anyone wishing to vote for a WV Scholar finalist.
I can appreciate their stand of not printing website addresses but this does not promote a left or right wing political cause or issue. This involves a life changing educational opportunity for West Virginia students.
It appears that the surrounding counties seem more interested in helping Chelsea with the final phase of this competition than her “hometown” newspaper. Many of the finalists are from the much larger communities of Charleston, Bridgeport/Clarksburg, Elkins and Buckhannon and already have over 2,000 votes. I feel The Morgan Messenger used a lack of sound judgment in this matter and hope they re-evaluate their decision in matters similar to this one in the future.
The winner of the scholarship will be announced on Monday, June 28. Online voting continues at the WV Scholar website through June 20.
Editor’s note: These days it seems like every business, politician, church, charity, club, etc. has a website to promote and advertise themselves. We get submissions daily encouraging people to go to websites to read more about politicians or commercial products, to sign petitions online and to vote for this or that. With very rare exceptions, we edit out website addresses. Of course, anyone conversant with computers would only have to google WV Scholar and would have found a way to vo