For DonorsFor Applicants

C. Burke Morris Scholarship

5 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
May 31, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 30, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
West Virginia

College is a crucial step in preparing the youth of today for their future careers, but it is becoming increasingly inaccessible.

As college becomes increasingly necessary for many job options, many students feel they have no choice but to pursue higher education for the sake of their future careers. With the costs of tuition, textbooks, and daily living expenses all on the rise, attaining a college degree is often impossible without going into significant debt.

This scholarship seeks to support students who are preparing to transition to college so they have the resources necessary to succeed.

Any high school senior in West Virginia who will be pursuing a two or four-year degree program after graduation may apply for this scholarship. Those from Harrison, Dodoridge, Marion, Tyler, Ritchie, Wetzel and Taylor counties are preferred.

To apply, tell us about a personal accomplishment you have achieved and what skills you demonstrated in order to do so.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published March 6, 2024
Essay Topic

Describe a personal accomplishment and the strengths and skills you used to achieve it.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Quentin Keplinger
Petersburg High SchoolLAHMANSVILLE, WV
May 28, 2024 Hello, my name is Quentin C. Keplinger. I graduated Sunday, May 19, and will be attending Concord University in the fall. Over the last few weeks, I have given serious thought to a personal accomplishment and the strengths and skills used to achieve it. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to become a veterinarian. My biggest and greatest personal accomplishment is the job I currently hold. My mom is employed at a local veterinary clinic and would often pick me up after school. I would be out of the way but could still watch all the action taking place around me. As I got older, I started becoming more involved. I volunteered for tasks such as stocking supplies, cleaning kennels, folding laundry, and the list goes on. By constantly helping, and asking questions, I gained basic knowledge and experience of veterinary medicine, which drove me to want to know more. I would go home in the evenings and look things up about cases, reading articles about medicine and how to further help animals, and even began asking for books and tools pertaining to veterinary medicine. I went to work for my sister-in-law, who is a veterinarian owning her own private practice. While working for her, I was able to further my skills and knowledge base, giving me an even deeper love for the profession. Through this experience I gained personal and professional skills. I was approached by the practice manager from the clinic where I spent my adolescent years about coming to work for them as a veterinary assistant. I was torn. I found myself, somewhat reluctantly, deciding to say something to my sister-in-law. A few weeks after she called me in the office, and said “I am going to let you go.” I was completely crushed. She continued to say “I need you to do this. If this is the career you want to pursue, you need to step out of your comfort zone, gain experience with other doctors, and the hard things that go along with it.” In the weeks to come I accepted the offer by the clinic where I grew up. I felt so out of place and awkwardly uncomfortable out of my comfort zone. I tried to do well at the job I had been hired to do, and reminded myself of the importance of learning through new experiences. I found myself praying, asking God to cover and provide me with peace. My strengths are that I’ve learned how to become comfortable with new experiences, and how to adapt to new challenges. How to overcome the small things. How to push through the hard times that we come up against, and the importance of friends to support you during tough times. Personally, the skills I used to get where I am are the ones I learned from this journey. Specifically, these skills are a stronger work ethic, determination, and perseverance. I also feel I have gained many new values to support these skills, such as, how to interact with people on a more personal level, and how to hold myself to a higher and more professional standard. I feel I would not be where I am today if it were not for the things I have outlined in this essay. I now hold so much valuable knowledge and experiences, many life lessons from wonderful co-workers and amazing veterinarians who have inspired me along the way. I would be honored to receive this scholarship. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. Kind Regards, Quentin C. Keplinger
Bryson Edwards
Wayne High SchoolWAYNE, WV
Since I was a toddler, I was told I could never stop talking. After finishing my first topic, I always think of something else to say; my grandmother would always tell me I was built from a chatter teeth toy that had been permanently winded. Even though I was always told I talked a lot, my grandfather had a saying, “Communication is key,” and I live by that statement. At a young age, I found that my most significant personal strength is my ability to communicate and present effortlessly. As I have gotten older, I have been given more opportunities to use my abilities. For most, public speaking is a nightmare, but I love it. It always finds me, even when I am not seeking a public speaking experience. Though I do not always seek the experience, I enjoy every moment. I've used this strength in many public speaking events, for example, announcing names for the class of '23 graduation. Having good communication skills has also brought me success in my student government club. A prime example would be that I am the President of Student Government, and I was voted in via the Students of Wayne High School. While I understand that the ability to communicate is my strength, I also enjoy playing as part of a team and being a listener. For example, I am the senior manager of my Biomedical Science CTE in high school. My task is to keep up with the calendar, lead class meetings, and ensure we are stocked with basic classroom essentials. I also use my strengths for an annual hobby of going to mock trials with my student government club. I have very little interest in going into law, but I still love my experience of debating and the intensity of being called to the stand. Another example of my love for the spotlight, lack of stage fright, and leadership would be becoming my school mascot, the Pioneer, for the football and basketball seasons. Our school's media leader approached me with this opportunity during our 2022 football season. I was elected the student section leader since I was very vocal, and everyone in the stands could hear. My strength and ability to communicate are critical because, without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do many of the activities I enjoy since many involve some vocal presentation. That’s why I chose also to pursue a career path that involves conversing with patients and coworkers to solve specific problems with the patients.
Niyarah Wilson
Hurricane High SchoolHURRICANE, WV
For a personal accomplishment, I would have to say both my positivity and drive. See, these are accomplishments to me because they are not something i’ve always had. Although my life experiences have not been the best, they have brought me to where I am today and have shown me that you can genuinely achieve anything. For some background information, my father has been in and out of my life since I was born, due to drug use and various mental illnesses. My mother raised me and my sister on her own since she was 19. My mother struggled while taking care of us our whole lives, due to poverty, multiple mental illness, etc. Due to genetics, mental illnesses and disorders have passed onto me. I have struggled my whole life with anxiety, depression and extreme ADHD. The medications I took made me feel like I was a completely different person. I felt like I was in someone else’s world, which i had no control over. When i was younger I would often refuse to take my medications on and off, and this carried up until the end of my sophomore year of high school. Between my freshman and sophomore years, I remained completely unmedicated and had fallen into an extremely deep hole. I was failing in school, very depressed, and just un motivated to even live my own life. My mother and I soon decided for me to transfer schools, to see if anything would change. The school I transferred to, and currently attend to this day, is Hurricane High school- located in Hurricane, West Virginia. I began to take my medication at the beginning of the school year at my new school. It caused a lot of anxiety and still wasn’t right for me. I came to this school everyday feeling completely alone, I didn’t like the environment for me, I had no friends, and I was nervous to even do my work around others. To save you some time, I will skip forward, and tell you that eventually i did find the right meditations for me. I tried my hardest to adjust my mindset and look at things differently. I can say that it was the most difficult thing I have ever encountered, but here, right now I can say that I did it. I try to look at everything in the most positive ways possible. I have worked my hardest to not only get to where I am now, but to push my myself out of the hole I had previously been in. That hole in my life has always haunted me, but that hole was ME. That hole was the same person that had changed her life around to get to where she wants to be. I have deep sympathy for the old me, I would never have imagined to be where I am now. But without my past, I wouldn’t have the strength that I now carry with me everyday. I continue to grow and work on myself and my mental health every single day. I will always give it my best to remain positive and not compare myself to others, because everyone has their own struggles. To end this essay, I would like to share that i hope everyone who struggles with mental illness and a difficult childhood, can learn to look at the world in the best way possible, to stay strong, and keep their health a priority. This wasn’t easy for me, but I did it, and that is my greatest achievement. Thank you.
Kamrie-lyn Alder
Spring Mills High SchoolFalling Wtrs, WV
Something I have always struggled with is acknowledging weaknesses. Growing up within the confines of the mountainous West Virginia, there was an existent pride that constantly oozed from me. I wore it like a bejeweled crown on my head, for I loved my state. Traveling across states for speech competitions and educational conferences, it was always something I proudly showed off. Whenever someone would make a comment towards me that went against the ideals of my state being one of true elegance and beauty, I would immediately combat with a defensive statement. It wasn’t until I had a deep conversation with someone from across the country that opened my eyes permanently. When immediately resulting in a defensive statement, I often pushed past reasonable logic. A girl from Colorado that I met at a college event sparked a conversation with me about statistical evidence showing West Virginia’s poverty levels. I, once again, immediately came back with a defense, acting as if I was about to swing in a heated tennis game. What I did not know was that the real tactic was not hitting the ball back as hard as possible, but instead, making improvements to the racket itself. She gave me key advice that - to this day - I aspire to utilize. She stated, “It is okay to acknowledge a weakness in you or your area, however, the real danger is when you acknowledge the weaknesses and do nothing to improve them.” Since then, I have attempted to fix a prevalent issue I have seen as a West Virginia resident: the combination of food waste and lack of healthy meals created by low-income families. As a child, in poverty, we relied on food banks, yet, the same un-nutritional meals fell upon me everyday. Looking back, and knowing it was a simple lack of knowledge on how to utilize ingredients, drove me to assist. I volunteered weekly as a food bank, and weekly I saw a consistent trend. The donated food from markets are often unappealing looking or stale, and that led many volunteers to throw the items away, or give it away with no instructions. I dedicated time to developing a non-profit, aimed to show how to utilize commonly disregarded ingredients, such as stale bread. I included recipes in the boxes that correlated with the, sometimes, difficult ingredients. Not only did I include recipes in the boxes, I decided to create and manage a website to promote recipes for those who may not have been able to travel to the food bank! Additionally, I dedicated my weekends in the summer to making a table at our town’s farmers market. I promoted the non-profit and brought examples of foods to encourage people. Together, with the help of my community, we were able to reduce food waste, and increase nutritional meals within our beloved community. This volunteering experience has profoundly shaped my goal of pursuing a higher education. I aspire to be the first in my family to attend college. In order to create a lasting change, I need a solid educational foundation. A college education will equip me with the advanced skills and knowledge to expand my non-profit work and aim to tackle larger systematic issues. I aim to study international relations and continue on to law school which will allow me to develop more effective programs and advocate for policies that support low-income families in West Virginia!
Mya Jackson
Martinsburg High SchoolMARTINSBURG, WV
Hello, my name is Mya Jackson. I’m a senior at Martinsburg Highschool in Martinsburg West Virginia. I am their 4-year starting 3rd baseman. I will continue my softball career at Hagerstown Community College. Studying Exercise science. To be the first person in my family to graduate from college. But let me start from the beginning. Iv played softball since I was 4 years old and I’m still playing 13 years later. From the beginning I fell in love with softball. I grew up on baseball due to my older brother playing it year around. I looked up to him and saw him love the sport of baseball and I knew I needed to try it out for myself. So my parents decided to let me try. My dad has been my coach for as long as I can remember. Until about 4 years ago when he had to stop coaching due to his health. My father suffers from a chronic blood clotting disorder that limits him from about everything. Even coaching. This was the hardest for me to understand and knew I had to step up and be the best player and to help my team like he did. Even if he’s not in the dugout with me, I know he’s watching from somewhere. That’s what made me keep fighting to be the best daughter and player I could be. My mother has always been my biggest cheer leader. Being at every single game, until early august of this year. My mother was shockingly diagnosed with colon cancer at the young age of 45. My family was lost within the news. From my mother working everyday being my family’s only source of income, to that being completely shut off was devastating. But I knew I needed to step up not just for her but for my family. So I got a job. To help with the medical bills, for gas to get her to treatments, to even getting our dinner for the night. But I didn’t mind one bit. I knew that I couldn’t help medically so I tried every other way. My mother is my biggest inspiration I strive to be atleast an ounce of her. From fighting everyday, to believing,to trusting her medical team, to loving her family with every ounce of her.Those are the tuffest things i’ve genuinely had to go threw. I now understand to take the small wins day by day. One day I hope to help a family like Winchester hospital did for me.They aren’t just medical specialists. They saved my family and became apart of it. They turned hard moments into learning lessons. Made me understand what’s going on, and how to help. But it genuinely made me love medicine and I can’t wait to help people like they did for me.With your help. Thank you for taking my essay into consideration!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 31, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 30, 2024.

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