Wright City

Wright City senior earns prestigious scholarship, full ride to college

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 12/21/23

Wright City High School senior Tayla Payne received a QuestBridge Scholarship, earning her a full ride and more to the University of Virginia Charlottesville.

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Wright City

Wright City senior earns prestigious scholarship, full ride to college


A Wright City High School senior was one of a select group of students nationwide to be awarded a prestigious college scholarship.

Tayla Payne, the senior class president at the high school, was awarded a QuestBridge Scholarship on Dec. 1, earning her a free-ride to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“At the beginning of the year, I did not plan on going out of state at all,” she said. “I knew that I could apply for scholarships, but I didn’t realize there were many full rides, especially to the prestigious schools.”

Payne is just one of fifteen recipients of the scholarship for UVA, and one of only 2,242 students chosen for the scholarship at colleges and universities across the country.

The scholarship completely covers the cost of tuition, as well as for a visit to the university, her laptop expenses, books, room and board, health insurance, and two round-trip tickets so she can return to Wright City.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, Payne had to write a number of essays and apply to fifteen different schools. She said her top five were Davidson University, Vanderbilt University, Washington and Lee University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Southern California.

She believes Virginia chose her because of her leadership abilities and her writing abilities.

“The essay I wrote was amazing,” she said.

She will be visiting her future alma mater during a trip in the spring, she said. She plans to major in media studies as part of her goal to become a creative director.

And now that Payne has her college decision taken care of, she can spend the rest of her senior year focused on her clubs. In addition to being the senior class president, Payne is also the Key Club president, a part of the school’s TEAM group and is the treasurer for Future Business Leaders of America.

“I’m just so relieved now that I don’t have to worry about any more of the college process going on with the rest of my senior year,” she said. “I feel that I can relax more and I can really focus on my leadership skills. I’m still striving to get that good GPA I have. I just think that being away from home is the only thing I’m a little weary about, but I’ll be fine. I know I can do great at it.”

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

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