Virginia Tech's Educational Talent Search recognized 28 of the region's young scholars during the Talent Search Students of the Year banquet, held in Hillcrest Hall on the university's campus on May 27.

The awards program honors middle school and high school Talent Search Students of the Year, who are selected by Virginia Tech Educational Talent Search counselors Joe Lyle, Sarah Wells, and Henrietta Marshall, and program director Tom Wilson.

The guest speaker for the event was Diana Ridgwell, director of student development and of the Undergraduate Research Institute in Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Educational Talent Search counselors work with middle school and high school students to help them improve grades, cultivate academic interests, and plan for a college education. Students are chosen as Talent Search Students of the Year based on academic performance; participation in program activities, such as monthly meetings at school, Saturday sessions at Virginia Tech, and visits to colleges; and commitment to the goals of the Educational Talent Search program.

Educational Talent Search is a federally funded educational opportunity program designed to encourage potential first-generation college students to graduate from high school and to attend college. Virginia Tech administers both the Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound programs for schools in southwest, central, and southern Virginia.

The Virginia Tech Talent Search Students of the Year are

  • Josh Toney, Auburn High School;
  • Samantha Ratcliffe, Auburn Middle School;
  • Kasey Gray, Bassett High School;
  • Samantha Kennedy, Blacksburg High School;
  • Samantha Price, Blacksburg Middle School;
  • Sarah Jacobs, Christiansburg High School;
  • Jamazja Allen, Christiansburg Middle School;
  • April Knotter, Dublin Middle School;
  • Randy Tolley, Eastern Montgomery High School;
  • Shamilia Johnson, E.C. Glass High School;
  • Amanda Cooper, Fort Chiswell High School;
  • Autumn Watson, Franklin County High School;
  • Jose Martinez, Galax High School;
  • Chelsea Stone, George Wythe High School;
  • Olivia Humphreys, Giles High School;
  • Darius Carper, Graham High School;
  • James Waller, Grayson County High School;
  • Lillian Sutphin, Independence Secondary;
  • Corey Dabney, Linkhorne Middle School;
  • Chris Turner, Magna Vista High School;
  • Carolynne Rivera, Martinsville High School;
  • Danielle Sanders, Narrows High School;
  • Rebecca Clippard, Patrick County High School;
  • Amber Church, Pulaski County High School;
  • Allison Banks, Pulaski Middle School;
  • Alexis Mitchell, Rural Retreat High School;
  • Josh Farris, Shawsville Middle School; and
  • Tiffany Keller, Tazewell High School.


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