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Daniel Toney

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  • 2013 EQT Students of Excellence

    2013 EQT Students of Excellence

    The EQT Students of Excellence Scholarship Program honors high school seniors from throughout West Virginia who are making a difference in their communities.

    The EQT Students of Excellence Scholarship Program honors high school seniors from throughout West Virginia who are making a difference in their communities.

County: Randolph

High School: Home school and Randolph Technical Center

GPA: 3.8

Plans after graduation: Toney is currently looking at Fairmont State University and Grove City (Pa.) College. "I want to go to a college with a strong computer science program," he said. 

Focused on Service

Randolph County Student Looks for Ways to Impact Others

Many high school-aged students spend countless hours in front of a monitor, playing popular video games, such as Call of Duty.

Daniel Toney is quite the exception. 

Instead, the Randolph County teen feels a personal call of duty to design computer games that will help educate and make learning an interactive experience instead of just to entertain or spend time foolishly.

Because of his many worthy accomplishments, he has been selected as one of six winners of full-ride scholarships from the 2013 EQT Students of Excellence program.

"Video games have a big impact (on teens), whether we know it or not," Toney said. "My games will help teach things like math, history and English. 

"Using a game, it's a short-term incentive to learn and to make a student want to learn."

Toney has been home-schooled primarily, and has attended Randolph Technical Center.

"My parents wanted to be involved in my education," Toney explained. "They wanted to help me along the way. And they wanted to use a faith-centered curriculum."

He has certainly made an impact in a public education setting as well.

"As a teacher, I love meeting students who make my days easier and brighter — Daniel Toney is such a student," said Christina Waybright, a teacher at Randolph Technical Center. "Daniel is bright, funny, inquisitive and he genuinely likes to learn. He is concerned with knowing how and why things work. In everything he does, he expects to be able to master concepts. 

"He comes from a home school environment, but fits seamlessly into the public school environment at Randolph Technical Center."

Involvement in the Future Business Leaders of America organization has been a success for Toney as well. 

"Daniel has stood out as a natural leader," Waybright said. "He joined FBLA as a sophomore and has participated actively, including working on community service projects such as teaching computer basics at the Randolph-Elkins Senior Center and working with our club on a statewide clothing drive."

Toney said he had some good conversations during his time at the senior center.

"Teaching basic computer skills at the senior center was a lot of fun," Toney said. "I helped set up some email accounts and taught them how to use a mouse, things like that."

Toney is currently the FBLA local chapter president. In competitions through FBLA, he has excelled both locally and nationally. As a sophomore, Toney placed first in Computer Game and Simulation Programming with a partner and he represented West Virginia in the national competition. 

He joined with new partners his junior year for the Game Design competition and once again took first place at the state conference. That group went on to place sixth in the national FBLA competition.

"That was a good experience (at the nationals in Anaheim, Ca.), but very nerve-racking," Toney said. "I was a wreck it's so competitive. They called the Top 10 on stage. At first, I was a little disappointed in only getting sixth place, but I realized that it was sixth — in the nation." 

Toney quickly became a student leader at Randolph Technical Center, representing the school in many venues. He has twice been awarded "Student of the Semester" there, nominated by different teachers each time.

"I personally have asked him several times to show me how to do things inside of software programs," said Waybright. "And I have asked that he peer tutor other students in class."

Toney has also given presentations to the Randolph County Board of Education and the Randolph County Commission. He is working on a project in collaboration with the West Virginia University Environment Research Center that will involve a presentation to a team of professors and college students in the computer science department at WVU.

"Leadership, volunteerism and community and civic involvement are an integral part of many areas of Daniel's life," Waybright added. "He is an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader for Boy Scout Troop 88 and will soon earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

"He volunteers with his church in Awana, where he earned a Meritorious Service Award," Waybright added. "He also maintains the website for his local Young Life group." 

Toney participated in a mission trip to El Salvador last summer. This year, he plans to join a mission group going to the Dominican Republic.

"My first mission trip to El Salvador was an eye-opening experience," Toney said. "It was the first time that I had witnessed poverty at that level. I would like to get another chance to do something for the people there — I would really like that. 

"Even though the people there were living in poor conditions, they were really nice and kind and they were very open to us."

What motivates this Randolph County teen to want to serve others?

"I've always had a servant's heart," Toney explained simply. "I want to help people." 

In addition, Toney has worked a local paper route for eight years and has been a paid intern with the Worldwide Workshop Foundation (Globaloria) for three years. 

He also finds time to compete in local league sports, including swimming, basketball and soccer. 

"It's important to also stay physically fit," he said. "Plus, I enjoy competing as a team and working together for a purpose.

"I'm honored to have been chosen (for the EQT Students of Excellence scholarship). It will make it a lot easier for me to go to college."

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