Virginia Tech’s Educational Talent Search will recognize 26 of the region’s young scholars during the Talent Search Students of the Year banquet, to be held in Hillcrest Hall on the university’s campus on Thursday, May 26, at 6:15 p.m.

The students to be honored have been selected from the middle schools and high schools in southwest, central, and southern Virginia that are served by Virginia Tech’s Educational Talent Search program. The awards will be presented by program counselors Joe Lyle, Henrietta Marshall, and Sarah Umabarger-Wells, as well as Director Tom Wilson.

The guest speaker for the event will be Karen Eley Sanders, associate vice president for Academic Support Services at Virginia Tech.

Educational Talent Search is a federally funded educational opportunity program designed to encourage potential first-generation college students to graduate from high school and attend college. Counselors from Virginia Tech work in middle schools and high schools to help students improve their grades, cultivate academic interests, and plan for a college education.

Talent Search of the Year honorees are chosen for academic performance, participation in program activities, visits to colleges, and commitment to the goals of the program.

Talent Search and Upward Bound are administered jointly as part of Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs. Thousands of students have benefited from services offered by the programs since Upward Bound was established at the university in 1967 and Talent Search in 1973.

These are the 2011 Talent Search Students of the Year and their schools.                                                  

  •  Allison Shelor, Auburn Middle School
  •  Amber McMillan, Blacksburg Middle School
  •  Lauren Hale, Dublin Middle School
  •  Shauntell Johnson, Linkhorne Middle School
  •  Rilah Aulabaugh, Pulaski Middle School
  •  Malynda Cook, Shawsville Middle School
  •  Jon Phillips, Auburn High School
  •  Quinton Thornton, Bassett High School
  •  Clara Keller, Blacksburg High School
  •  Ryan Brown,  Christiansburg High School
  •  Megan Doyle, Eastern Montgomery High School
  •  Jasmine Jones, E.C. Glass High School
  •  Alexis Roop, Floyd County High School
  •  Chandra Worrell, Fort Chiswell High School  
  •  Raven Smith, Franklin County High School
  •  Austin Turbyfill, Galax High School
  •  Taylor Gilbert, Giles High School
  •  Farrah Nunley, Graham High School
  •  Adrienne Sikes, Grayson County High School
  •  Derek Ziglar, Martinsville High School
  •  Tamra Mullins, Narrows High School
  •  Kara Hughes, Patrick County High School
  •  Montana Young, Patrick County High School
  •  Amanda Rasnake, Pulaski County High School
  •  Brittney Eversole, Rural Retreat High School
  •  Kaylee Sandifer, Tazewell High School