Wheeling Park senior MaKiyah Strothers is shown with her grandparents, Ron and Jan Strothers.

Wheeling Park High School senior MaKiyah Strothers is an exceptionally hard worker, and through that hard work she’s earned an esteemed scholarship.

Strothers recently learned that she’s been named as an “Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholar.” The “Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program” is a competitive scholarship for recent high school graduates with a passion for teaching and a history of high academic achievement, community service and active involvement in extracurricular activities while in high school. Recipients receive $10,000 per year for four years, and she will also have a scholarship mentor. In exchange, “Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars” must agree to teach in a West Virginia public school in an area of critical need (math, science, elementary education or special education) for a period of five years after graduating from college.

Strothers said she will attend either West Liberty University or Shepherd University. She is leaning toward West Liberty because she would like to play softball there, as she has at Park for the past four years as a centerfielder.

Strothers said she has been inspired to be teacher in part because of the “Beyond Education” and “Grow Your Own” programs at Wheeling Park. The “College at Park” program has also been a benefit to her as it will put her a step ahead of her college peers. Strothers said she is confident that she will be a great teacher and a role model for her future students.

“I want to be a teacher because of the impact they have on young people,” she said. “Youths in our community can use a positive role model, and I believe I can help them. I’m a nice person whose always been surrounded by good people, and I lead by example… The programs (at Park) have opened up a lot of opportunities. I already have a lot of experience in the classroom with children. Through ‘College at Park,’ I could be entering college as a sophomore.”

Strothers is a standout student, and she is a CTE completer in the broadcasting program. Her favorite teacher is Caroline Dillon, and she is a member of Park’s “Radio/TV Club.” She’s also a freshman mentor and a student ambassador.

Strothers is a very busy student athlete. However, she still manages to work a pair of part-time jobs. She works as a receptionist at the Elmhurst House of Friendship assisted living residence and at the Highlands Sports Complex.

“It can be difficult to balance,” Strothers said. “I’ll go to Elmhurst after practice, and I’ll work at The Highlands on Saturday and Sunday. It can be tough to balance homework, practice, games and work.”

Strothers said a part of the “Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholar Program” involved an essay on her time in high school. She said she was thrilled to write about the education she’s received at Wheeling Park High School and in Ohio County Schools.

“I’ve bragged about the education I’ve received in Ohio County Schools,” she said. “The opportunities are endless. There’s something for everyone. It’s a great environment. I’ve had great relationships with teachers, and there’s been so much support.”

Photo: Wheeling Park senior MaKiyah Strothers is shown with her grandparents, Ron and Jan Strothers.