Local Point Pleasant student Andrea Bailes would have been graduated with the Class of 2016 if a drunk driver had not made the bad decision to get behind the wheel of his car on November 18th, 2011. Although Andrea was just 14 years old, she made a huge mark on her family and the community. Andrea’s family and the community have worked hard over the past four years to generate the funds needed to endow this permanent scholarship fund. As this scholarship is awarded this year and the years to come, Andrea’s family would like it to be a positive and constant reminder of the kind of person Andrea was. Andrea loved people and had an enchanting smile that would light up your heart. She was a hard worker who was dedicated to all things that mattered most to her–gymnastics; soccer; school; her friends and her family. She readily gave to those in need.
To heal from this loss and to try to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family, her mother, Deana Spaulding and Andrea’s family and friends organized a group called Andrea’s Army. This group has been actively engaged since Andrea’s death, sharing the dangers of drunk driving throughout the region and state and advocating for harsher laws for impaired drivers. This past year, following three years of avocation by Andrea’s Army, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin endorsed “Andrea and Willy’s Law”. This law will increase the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances. The law will carry Andrea’s name as a remembrance of the young beautiful 14-year old girl who lost her life in a car crash caused by a drunk driver with eight previous DUI convictions.
Since Andrea would have graduated from Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High School with the Class of 2016, her family wanted the first scholarship to be awarded to students who are in Andrea’s class. The first two Andrea Bailes Honorary Scholarships were awarded in May to Katherine Deem and Alexis Meadows.