Davis & Elkins College has awarded the William H. Burky Memorial Scholarship to Olivia Hudok, the first Pickens School graduate to receive the honor.
Burky graduated cum laude from Davis & Elkins in 1976 and received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The son of Ralph and Elsie Burky, he was the 1972 valedictorian of Pickens School. Burky passed away in 1981.
The scholarship, established in 1997, assists one D&E student by providing $1,000 per year for four years. Selection is based upon need, strong moral character and academic achievement. Students from West Virginia, preferably Randolph County, are eligible to apply.
The scholarship was presented to Hudok by Burky's sister, Patricia Phillips, during commencement ceremonies on May 25 at Pickens School. In her remarks, Phillips told the audience that her brother enjoyed his years at D&E and was a member of the college's cross-country team.
"We especially looked forward to the times he came home for a weekend and shared some of his college experiences," she said. "He spoke fondly of many of his professors, Dr. Gloria Payne and Dr. (Thomas) Ross and President (Gordon) Hermanson."
She also quoted Hudok's letter of recommendation from 4-H Leader Betty Biggs: "If he had known you, he would have liked you, admired your character and recognized your substantial potential. He would be so pleased that his memorial scholarship would be helping a Pickens graduate.
"And that is the way all of us feel today," she continued. "We are so proud of you for all you have accomplished these past four years, academically and through school activities and community involvement. In your beautifully written essay, you reveal a refreshing sense of direction for your life, and I have no doubt that you will make a positive difference. You are an inspiration to us."
Hudok plans to pursue a degree in biology and hopes to continue her education to become an occupational therapist.