FAIRMONT — The Fairmont State University School of Education, Health and Human Performance held its annual academic awards banquet Thursday evening honoring over 70 students for their academic accomplishments by awarding scholarships.

The FSU School of Education, Health and Human Performance offers a broad range of programs in multiple professional fields, which is often misunderstood by many assuming that the majority of students are studying to be teachers.

The dean of the school, Dr. Carolyn Crislip-Tacy, said that out of the 12 programs available, half of the students are in teaching programs and the other half are in non-teaching programs like exercise science. Many of the top students from those programs were honored for their academic accomplishments as the spring semester comes to an end.

"This distinguished group includes students preparing to become teachers and some preparing to become professionals in exercise science," Crislip-Tacy said. "These students are at every point in their careers. Some are freshmen, some are in graduate school and there are students in between."

Crislip-Tacy went on to explain how diverse these students were in many significant ways but were alike by their key attributes as students including "highly motivated, determined and dedicated" individuals. She said the testing and classroom performance scores of the students present were notable not only in their fields, but outside as well.

"You have focus, perseverance, you have strong work ethics," Crislip-Tacy said to the students.

Crislip-Tacy said that some of the students were nominated for scholarships by faculty and others won for their submitted essays that caught the attention of the selection committees.

"Regardless, each of you rose to the top of the selection process, so you are the cream of the crop," Crislip-Tacy said.

Students and their families and friends gathered for the banquet to celebrate their accomplishments and accept their awarded scholarships.

Some of the scholarships and awards presented were A and L Hawkins Graduate Student in English Award, Anna Louise DeVaul Endowed Scholarship, Carol Diane Cook Elder Memorial Education Scholarship, Crystal Miller Morris Scholarship Endowment Fund, International Education Award, Victor and Mary Carr Rancinger Scholarship, and the William White Scholarship.

FSU President Dr. Mirta Martin was also present to offer her congratulations to the students for their accomplishments.

"This is my favorite time of the year because you get to see all of the achievements of our students," Martin said. "They are filled with enthusiasm. Some will be graduating and some will be continuing, but we are here to celebrate them."

Martin said that in a way their accomplishments being celebrated at the banquet was a beginning of a "new journey," both for those who are graduating and for those continuing on through FSU, both discovering what lies ahead.

"When these students graduate, they go out into the world as good men and women of strong character who will shape and change the path and the face of our nation," Martin said. "So thank you for taking the time to pass it forward."

Email Kaitlyn Neff at kneff@timeswv.com and follow her on Twitter @kneffTWV.

Email Kaitlyn Neff at kneff@timeswv.com and follow her on Twitter at @kneffTWV.

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