Virginia Division
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VAPBA Scholarship Recipient Abbie Copperthite


By Cindy Baugher

Communications Project Coordinator


Providing students with the chance to be a first-generation college student is the essence of the PBF’s scholarship program. Abbie Copperthite, recent scholarship recipient for the Virginia division, is honored to be rewarded for her efforts and looking forward to becoming the first college graduate in her family as she attends the University of Virginia, pursuing a degree in economics. Since her parents are both in the law enforcement field, recognition by the PBF makes it even more special for Abbie. 


Natural Resources Chapter (VAPBA) President Amanda Nevel presents a check to
Abbie Copperthite. Pictured to the right of Abbie are her parents, Jeff and Sharon.
Also pictured is Bob Griffin who serves on the board with President Nevel.


Upon graduation from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, Abbie had racked up quite an impressive resume. She says, “I continually worked to achieve my academic goals while simultaneously balancing extracurriculars in my life, providing me with an environment to envision my desired future. Primarily, I prioritized my academic success by continually challenging myself with rigorous courses, including honors, dual enrollment, and AP classes. Furthermore, in my sophomore year of high school, I successfully passed the exam to receive the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) Seal of Biliteracy, demonstrating my proficiency in English and Spanish. Through my grades and choice of difficult coursework, I was able to achieve a final weighted GPA of 5.0644 and rank number one out of over five hundred students in my class, granting me the honor of graduating as my senior class’s valedictorian.” Of course, with an academic record like that, she was also a member of four different honor societies in her junior and senior year. 


Abbie was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class.


Academics were not the only focus of Abbie’s high school career. She also played on Grassfield High School’s lacrosse team and served as captain of that team in her senior year. She has worked to become an accomplished pianist as well, taking piano lessons since the third grade and working to master her musical skills on the violin. Finding time to volunteer for worthy organizations has also been important to Abbie. She has logged time working with the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater and the Kiwanis Club, but says she was most active in volunteering at her church, Great Bridge Baptist Church. There she volunteered every Thursday morning at the food pantry, organizing and packing bags of food for families in need. Since August 2022, she also volunteered every Sunday morning at the church’s coffee shop, working the register, making drinks such as lattes and smoothies, and greeting customers. She says her unique volunteer role as a barista taught her leadership skills while teaching new volunteers how to make the drinks and manage the rush of customers in the morning.  


Abbie was captain of Grassfield High School’s lacrosse team her senior year.


Volunteering is not the only work Abbie did during high school. She also balanced a part-time job at Green Clean Auto Wash on the weekends during the school year and clocked up to thirty hours a week in the summer handling various tasks around the business. Abbie says, “ultimately, all these extracurricular activities have given me the opportunity to grow in multiple ways and learn to balance a busy schedule.” 


Abbie believes that “having a law enforcement parent means having a parent with a heart for service. My dad, Jeffrey Copperthite, has been involved in law enforcement for over thirty years, and throughout my life growing up, I have seen my dad show immense pride in his career. Though his job as a police officer may not be as glamorous as other professions, it is an honorable career that anyone can be proud of.” Her father’s membership in the PBA is what enabled her to be eligible for this scholarship, but Abbie’s mother also has a role in the profession. She has served almost her entire career as an emergency dispatcher. As one would imagine, her parents have shared their insight for how to have a cautionary attitude and they’ve fostered Abbie’s ability to assess unsafe situations. But for Abbie, she’s most grateful for their continued love, support, and dedication. Her father is obviously proud of his daughter and her accomplishments: “My wife Sharon and I were excited for the opportunity for her to apply for a scholarship with an organization that I have been a member of for many years. We want to thank everyone involved for their generosity in funding this scholarship. It is a great help to us financially, especially in these uncertain times. I know with her drive and ambition she will continue to thrive at college as she works on a degree in economics.”  


As to what’s ahead for Abbie following her time at the University of Virginia, she is unsure of the exact career path she’ll pursue after graduation. She says she “hopes to become a successful economist and possibly work for the U.S. Department of Treasury or the Office of Management and Budget. I can also see myself becoming a financial advisor or economic strategist at a private firm. Furthermore, I may pursue a master’s degree in economics if necessary for my career path.”  Thanks to her hard work and the PBF scholarship, this first-generation college student is a little closer to her goals. 

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