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Students are at the core

Students are the very core of Davis & Elkins College. Even during a pandemic, we must not lose sight of why D&E exists, nor who we serve. We are proudly student-centric.

Anna Ruf is completing her freshman year at D&E. I remember meeting her as a prospective student and commenting that she would be an ideal fit as a leader on campus. My first impressions were spot on. Those who viewed the Easter video from D&E last Sunday saw Anna as she sang the hymn toward the end of the worship experience. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, with her permission to use our conversation in this column, Anna and I sat down to talk about her D&E experience.

As she was preparing to graduate from high school in Philippi, Anna explored some of the regional colleges but ultimately chose D&E. She admits that her family history played a role in that decision. Her grandparents met at D&E, and she had an aunt who was also a graduate. She wanted to attend a small school, and she told me, “D&E just felt right.” Anna competed against several dozen prospective students and won our prestigious Leadership Scholarship in the fall of 2019.

She is an education major and intends to teach secondary math. Both her mother and grandmother are teachers, and she credits many of her excellent teachers, including her high school math and band teachers, as role models. “They lit a fire within me,” she said.

I asked Anna about her first year of college. She remembered the nervousness of her first week on campus, discovering that the professors “were really not scary,” and making lots of friends. She was particularly grateful to the faculty in the Education Department who “solidified her decision” to become a D&E Senator. On campus, in addition to her classes, Anna is a Student Ambassador and a member of the Concert Choir. She enjoys her role as an Ambassador where she interacts with prospective students and shares with them her experience of college life. During her years at D&E she intends to become involved in student government and perhaps join a sorority.

Asked about her dream for her life, she quickly talked about becoming a teacher in West Virginia, and wanting to make a difference in the lives of her students. Due to her mother’s experience in the classroom, Anna realizes many of her future students will have tough home lives and will need school to be a safe place. “I want to make a real difference in their lives. I think that is what God has called me to do.”

Strongly influenced by her loving parents and abiding faith, Anna’s natural leadership abilities are being strengthened and nurtured by her passionate faculty and her D&E experience. As a result of her transformative D&E education, I am certain she will be a caring and dynamic teacher who will profoundly impact the lives of countless students.

The mission of Davis & Elkins College is visible in the life of Anna, and all her classmates who call these hallowed grounds their home.

The journey continues…

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