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West Virginia high schoolers selected as Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholars Impact
Fairmont State News

West Virginia high schoolers selected as Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholars

2024 Presidential ScholarsThree West Virginia high school seniors have been selected as recipients of Fairmont State University’s premier academic scholarship. Grace Wells (Fairmont, W.VA), Lauren Bailey (Ripley, W.VA) and Madison Lagasse (Salem, W.VA) will have the entirety of their tuition and more paid for by the Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship. In addition to tuition, the McClain scholarship covers room and board and provides scholarship awardees with a $500 per semester allowance to purchase textbooks from the Fairmont State Bound for Success bookstore.

To qualify for the scholarship candidates must be high school seniors who have received the PROMISE scholarship, have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, score an ACT of 26 or higher or an 1180 SAT, and submit a written essay with their scholarship application. Once selected as a finalist, candidates participate in on-campus interviews with University representatives. Wells, Bailey and Lagasse met all of the criteria and were selected as the 2024 McClain Scholars after their on-campus interviews.

Wells, a senior at Fairmont Senior High School, looks forward to her future at Fairmont State.

“My main goals as a student at Fairmont State University are to get a good education and to have impactful experiences through classes and research projects so I can become prepared for my future career,” said Wells, “I also hope I will be a positive leader within the community of Fairmont and Fairmont State University.”

Wells will major in biology after graduating from Fairmont Senior and hopes to work in a laboratory after she graduates from Fairmont State. As a recipient of the McClain scholarship, Wells feels she will be able to focus more on her studies and future career goals instead of worrying about finances.

“I hope to become a leader in my field and find new ways to help advance sciences for future generations,” Wells said. “The Charles J. McClain Scholarship allows me to focus primarily on my education and future career without worrying about my finances. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”

Lagasse will also be majoring in biology once she graduates from Doddridge County High School, and would like to go on to become a dermatologist after she completes her time at Fairmont State.

“I am very excited to be a member of the College of Science and Technology and major in biology. This degree will provide me with the necessary preparation for my future career as a doctor,” said Lagasse. “In the future, I plan to attend medical school at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and eventually become a dermatologist. I’m passionate about this field of medicine and the aspect of spreading skin health awareness.”

Although her studies are a primary focus, Lagasse looks forward to the social and extracurricular activities that take place at Fairmont State.

“At Fairmont State, I intend to include myself in a variety of clubs and organizations to have as much fun as possible!” Lagasse said. “My main goal is to become a member of student government to bring people together on campus.”

Much like Wells, Lagasse reiterates the sentiment of the McClain scholarship allowing her to focus on academics instead of finances.

“The Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship is a blessing I will forever be grateful for. As someone who would have accrued a hefty amount of student debt, I now have the comfort and hope of a more stable future,” Lagasse said. “With this scholarship, I can put my absolute all into every facet of my college experience without worry. I’m determined to make Fairmont State University proud, and my grades will be sure to reflect the gratitude I feel for receiving such an honor.”

The third and final McClain Scholar Bailey will be majoring in Math Education when she finishes her time at Ripley High School.

“I intend to major in Math Education to further explore several of my passions. I also intend to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and possibly continue toward a master's degree in Educational Leadership,” said Bailey. ”My career goal is to teach mathematics at a secondary school in West Virginia.”

Like Lagasse, Bailey is also excited to be involved with various student organizations on campus.

“As a student at Fairmont State University, I plan to be involved in the honors program, leadership activities and other student organizations to enhance my college experience,” Bailey stated.

Similar to her fellow scholars, Bailey is happy she will be able to focus on schooling without financial worries but has also been instilled with confidence in herself and her future.

“Receiving the Presidential Scholarship has given me a sense of confidence in my future. I am so appreciative of this opportunity to attend a fantastic school without any financial burden. It will allow me to focus on my academic studies and prepare to be a successful educator,” said Bailey.

Those who are selected for the McClain Scholarship must maintain an overall GPA of 2.75 at the end of their first year. An overall GPA of 3.0 is required for renewal during subsequent years. A minimum of 30 credit hours must be obtained each year of enrollment for renewal. The McClain Scholarship can only be awarded for up to eight semesters.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 2024 Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholars,” said President Mike Davis. “Their academic achievements are truly commendable. We are proud to have them join Fairmont State University, where I am confident they will soar to new heights as Falcons.”

Learn more about the Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship.