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Adam Kelly Scholarship Awarded To Seckman

By Staff | Jun 1, 2016

KIDWELL – Tyler Consolidated High School senior Katlyn O. Seckman is this year’s recipient of the Adam R. Kelly Memorial Scholarship Award.

The announcement was made during the Class of 2016 commencement exercises held May 19.

She is the daughter of Daniel and Tammy Seckman of Alma. She plans to attend West Liberty University in the fall to earn an exercise physiology degree, then West Virginia University to study physical therapy.

The $500 scholarship is given annually to a graduating senior from TCHS in honor of the late “Country Editor” columnist. It was established in June 1990 in memory of Kelly, who died three months earlier at the age of 65.

Kelly moved to Sistersville in 1954 and remained there until the time of his death, serving as editor and publisher of the Tyler Star News until 1979. He then began writing “The Country Editor” column, which appeared in the Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register, and several other West Virginia publications. Kelly won numerous state and national awards for his pieces.

The Kelly family – daughters Katie (Kelly) Chaplin, Laura (Kelly) Young, and wife Shannon Kelly – collaborated during the Memorial Day weekend to put together a few comments about their father.

“Dad fought in World War II for the freedom of this country and for the rights of all citizens,” they said. “He was fiercely patriotic about the ‘greatest country in the world’, and believed firmly in the Constitution and the rights of all Americans. After he died the scholarship was created to honor his memory and his convictions.”

The family noted Bob and Marty Wable, Henry and Martha Bell and Mary Rohrig, then editor of the Star News, were instrumental in the creation of this scholarship.

“They put in countless hours of work to organize a golf tournament to fund the scholarship,” Kelly’s family said. “The tournaments were supported by friends and colleagues from all over West Virginia.”

Part of the application process for the scholarship is to write an editorial about freedom.

“The Kelly family is happy to see Dad’s love of writing, love of America and love of freedom passed on through this scholarship,” the family said. “Dad would hire any young person who came to the Star News and asked for a job. The interview consisted of one question and that was ‘What is a gerund?’ If the applicant didn’t know the answer, he was told to ‘Look it up” and then re-apply.'”

Another true and thought provoking Adam Kelly question was “What is the most important function of a newspaper?” The answer , “to make money”, showed the business acumen he possessed as a small business owner, the family said.

From 1990 to 1993, two scholarships were given each year to Tyler County graduating seniors.

The scholarship committee considered candidates from both Sistersville and Tyler County high schools, selecting one recipient each year from each school.

When the two county high schools were consolidated in September 1993, the scholarship committee opted to award one scholarship to a Tyler Consolidated senior.

Applicants must submit a resume along with an essay titled “In Defense of Freedom.”

They are also interviewed by the scholarship committee. The students’ applications, essays, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, college plans and financial need are assessed by the committee members during the selection process.

Seckman was ranked 11th in her class of 100 seniors, earning a cumulative 4.1 grade point average. While in high school, her course concentration focused on the sciences, history, math and English.

She was a cheerleader for TCHS, earning honors as the OVAC Cheer Champion, two-time LKC Cheer Champion, two-time Regional Cheer runner-up, and State Cheer runner-up.

Seckman also earned an Academic Letter, Cheerleading Letter, Perfect Attendance Award, Academic Hall of Fame, and student of the month accolades. Additionally, she was invited to the Top 15% Academic Banquet.

As a Silver Knight, Seckman was involved in Project Pediatrics, varsity choir, varsity cheerleading, and the Knights Krazies organization. She also was involved in her church youth group.

Other past recipients of the Adam R. Kelly Memorial Scholarship Award are: 1990, Shelly Dawn Craven and Ryan Joseph Morgan; 1991, Betsy J. Snyder and Charles “Chip” Hendricks II; 1992, Daniel J. Hanood and Ken Ferrell; 1993, Amanda Diane Myers and Joshua Gurtler; 1994, Jodi Livingston; 1995, Brandice Cherilynne Smith; 1996, Nancy Carolyn Myers; 1997, Luke N. Peters; 1998, Karen Folger; 1999, Catherine E. Peters; 2000, Leann M. Kucharski; 2001, Erin Wilt; 2002, Michael A. Smith; 2003, Brian F. Rohrig; 2004, J. Lance McKeever; 2005, Thomas Andrew “Drew” Carson; 2006, Jessica B. Kisner; 2007, Adam Scott Knowlton; Linda Bassett, 2008; Zach Perkey, 2009; and Emily D. Thomas, 2010; Blaine Rice, 2011; Tara Weese, 2012; Martina M. Parrish, 2013; Amanda Dawson, 2014; and Sydney Elizabeth Yoho, 2015.

The scholarship fund was endowed through contributions from area businesses, friends, and newspaper journalists from throughout the state. Additionally, an Adam R. Kelly Memorial Golf Tournament was held for three years at the Sistersville Country Club, where Kelly was a member.

Editor’s Note: Much thanks goes to Mary Rohrig for her assistance with this article.