Amidst tears of joy shed by family and friends, Jessica Rodacay, a senior at Wheeling Central Catholic, was surprised March 10 with a full scholarship to attend Seton Hill.

“Is it for real?” Jessica asked as she walked into Central’s library and was greeted by Seton Hill Admissions Counselor Ashley Josay, Jessica’s parents, siblings, aunt and family friends. After congratulatory hugs and kisses, Josay officially presented Jessica with a check for $104,000, the full four-year tuition to attend Seton Hill.

“Jessica is the first scholarship recipient from a West Virginia high school,” Josay said. “She will be a wonderful addition to the incoming freshman class.”

Seton Hill will award eight scholarships this year, two from each of the school’s academic divisions. Jessica’s scholarship was awarded by Seton Hill’s Division of Social Sciences.

To qualify for a Seton Hill scholarship, Josay said seniors must have a combined SAT score of over 1300 for math and verbal and a GPA of more than 3.7. The school selects 10 finalists from among the applications; chosen finalists must then submit an additional letter of recommendation and write an essay addressing why they are worthy of the scholarship. A panel from Seton Hill then selects the scholarship winners.

Jessica said her aunt, Barb Coulson, a Seton Hill alumna, first introduced her to Seton Hill. “What attracted me most to Seton Hill was the intimacy of the school, it reminded me a lot of Central,” said Jessica. “This scholarship means so much to me… it’s wonderful because it really helps my family and takes the stress off.”

Jessica says what she will miss most about Central upon her graduation are her friends and teachers, especially Mrs. Toland and Mr. Volpe. “Central has really prepared me for college,” she said. “I’m way ahead because of my college prep work and because of the college classes I’ve taken at Northern.” She plans to study either psychology or English at Seton Hill and would like to attend graduate school before pursuing a career that combines her love of children and writing.

“We are so very happy for Jessica and her wonderful family,” said Joe Viglietta, Wheeling Central Catholic High School principal. “Jessica is a very bright, good-hearted young lady who will excel at Seton Hill and beyond.”