High School: Grafton High School
Plans for after graduation: Study computer science and engineering in college most likely at West Virginia University. "I have researched many computer and engineering programs, and I feel WVU has one of the best in the nation," he said.
Grafton High School senior Trevor Clarkson overcame tough odds early in life to become a high achiever.
At the age of 6 months, he was diagnosed with Cryptogenic Infantile Spasms: unexplained seizures that can damage the brain.
Faced with a poor prognosis, mother DeAnna Clarkson was "more determined to help Trevor meet his fullest potential," she wrote. Based on her nomination and his achievements, Clarkson has been selected as one of three winners of full-ride scholarships as part of the 2012 EQT Students of Excellence program.
DeAnna Clarkson enrolled her son in West Virginia Early Intervention services and, through his early years, engaged him in speech, occupational and physical therapy.
"Every school year I approached each group of teachers cautiously because I was so concerned that Trevor would be labeled in school and automatically have limits set for him," she wrote. "We have been blessed with the best teams of teachers that always saw his potential and helped him to grow. They focused on his strengths and provided him with the confidence he needed to excel."
Clarkson, who lives with his parents and younger sister Lauren in Thornton, a few miles east of Grafton, said his parents have always been supportive of his and Lauren's success.
"They've always helped us out and been really involved, always show up at all my music performances," he said. "They always tell us to do our best to achieve our goals of a successful education."
Although Clarkson faced struggles in his early years, his mother wrote, he began to shine when he entered high school.
His agreement with that statement had more to do with his interests than with his earlier challenges.
"I had a few advanced classes like algebra 1 and Spanish in middle school but in high school there's a much wider variety of classes," he said. "I wasn't so much bored in middle school; it's just, in high school there are more opportunities — more clubs and things to get involved in."
Academically, Clarkson has a technical mind.
"I've always been really keen when it comes to catching on to math and also to science," he said.
He doesn't shy away from the hard classes. He completed a dual-credit computer class in his junior year along with pre-calculus, trigonometry and chemistry. In his senior year, he is taking dual-credit calculus and Advanced Placement physics.
He is an enthusiastic school musician and serves as trumpet section leader and frequent soloist in the Grafton High School Bearcats marching band.
"When you're section leader, all the trumpets are looking up to you, and they really need somebody they know is a good role model," Clarkson explained proudly. "You've got to be able to guide them — for example, when we set up the field show over the summer we show them how to have good horn angles, how to play properly, all the basic trumpet things."
He also plays in the jazz band and in the orchestra that accompanies the school's Entertainers show choir and has started taking a guitar class in school.
Clarkson has been recognized throughout his high school career for his leadership and academic achievement.
He was selected in his freshman year to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership awards conference and attended the weekend Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference as a sophomore. He also attended the week-long HOBY conference at WVU last year and, this past summer, was selected for American Legion Mountaineer Boys State.
As a junior, Clarkson was inducted into the National Honor Society, and he now serves as treasurer. He received the Presidential Excellence in Education award last year and is ranked fifth in his senior class, with a GPA of 4.2.
For his high school community service hours, he has volunteered at Burlington United Methodist Family Services and Mountainheart Community Services in Grafton, both of which offer services to children in need.
Clarkson plans to study computer science and engineering in college, possibly at West Virginia University.
"I have researched many computer and engineering programs and I feel WVU has one of the best in the nation," he said.
He believes that path would offer him a rewarding career — "I am very excited about technology in this day and time and would love to be a part these new discoveries."
He sees good potential in the continued exploitation of the state's natural resources as well as in the development of high-tech economy in West Virginia and plans to use his education to give back to the state.
"I would like to use my talents and skills to develop new technologies to make life easier for individuals and more productive and efficient for our businesses. I hope that this will assist in the growth of our local economy," he said. "I am determined to begin my career here and keep West Virginia as my home."
DeAnna Clarkson writes of her son: "Trevor inspires me daily and reminds me that there are no limits — maybe even president one day."