Katlin Elkins, left, Andre Wright and Makiyah Ball, 8th graders at Beckley Stratton Middle School, won scholarships for a trip to New York City that was provided by Dr. Amjad Amjae. (Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

Three Beckley-Stratton Middle School students have been awarded with an all expense paid for trip to New York City for their efforts in wanting to help their local community.

Eighth grade students Makiyah Ball, Katlin Elkins and Andre Wright are three of 30 Beckley-Stratton Middle School students who will be making their way to New York City for an all-inclusive 4-day educational tour for their Spring Break in 2020.

The trip will include visits to the Empire State Building at night, Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial site, a Broadway show, and more. Lisa Shrewsberry, a writing teacher at the school, challenged her students to write an essay on what they would do to help their community, if they had no limits holding them back. 

After narrowing the essays down to a top 15, it was then narrowed down to three — Makiyah, Katlin and Andre, who wrote about helping the homeless community, tackling the opioid epidemic, and working to better serve their family and friends. 

Because many of the students attending are attempting to raise money to help fund their way, several community fundraising events have already taken place, including a barbecue lunch, a free throw contest and a carwash, Shrewsberry said. 

Following a community awareness effort by Councilwoman Sherri Hunter and a social media post and a $500 donation from realtor Brian Brown, the students began a scholarship to be awarded to students for their essay ideas, of which Dr. Ayne Amjad, an alumna of Beckley-Stratton, along with her mother, Lolita Quezon Amjad, decided to fund the balance of the entire scholarship for the three students through her non-profit organization, Bee Better, which was started to address the opioid epidemic in West Virginia by focusing on three aspects of a community: children, law enforcement and health care.

The scholarship awarded to the three students, dubbed “The Dr. Hassan Amjad Civic Leader Scholarship,” is in honor of Dr. Ayne Amjad’s father, the late Dr. Hassan Amjad.

“She believes this scholarship will allow students to travel and enjoy life while also recognizing the need to participate in community service. This will serve as encouragement to those whose circumstances could have limited their desire to impact others’ lives but did not,” Shrewberry said. 

Makiyah, Katlin and Andre, along with other students attending the trip to New York City, will complete community service projects throughout the remainder of the school year, including volunteering at the Raleigh County Humane Society, Hospice of Southern West Virginia, and a local nursing home. 

— Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jnelsonRH

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