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Rice gets Kelly award

By Staff | Jun 15, 2011

Blaise Rice

Tyler Consolidated High School senior Blaise Rice is this year’s recipient of the Adam R. Kelly Memorial Scholarship Award.

The announcement was made by TCHS Principal Kent Yoho during the Class of 2011 commencement exercises held Friday, May 27.

Rice, the son of Gene and Diana Rice of Sistersville, was selected by the scholarship committee to receive the $500 cash award. Rice plans to attend West Liberty University his freshman year, then transfer to West Virginia University where he will study to become a nurse practitioner.

The 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.

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 members of the Kelly family who serve on 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.

While at student at Tyler Consolidated, Rice earned second place honors his junior and senior years in the design and engineering categories of the West Virginia Technology State Competition, and placed third in engineering his sophomore year. In 2009, he placed in the top 10 in public speaking at the West Virginia Future Business Leaders of America competition. He was a Hugh O’Brian Leadership Ambassador as a sophomore and attended Mountaineer Boys State.

In 2010, he won the President’s Volunteer Service Award and recorded 100 hours of community service for a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award.

Rice also excelled in sports while a student at TCHS. He lettered in baseball all four years, serving as co-captain his senior year. Each year, he also earned the title of Lower Kanawha Conference baseball pitcher. He lettered in football for three years, and was named LKC kicker each year. Rice also played basketball for the Knights each year he attended TCHS.

He was a student council representative his freshman year; and a member of the FBLA and the West Virginia Technology Students Association for three years.

Throughout his high school career, Rice frequently volunteered hours of service to various community and church organizations.

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.

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.