Knight in Shining Armor

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Senior Cassie Cowperthwaite was chosen as a semi-finalist in the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation through a series of applications and essays. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation helps to support more than 1,400 college students each year.
The application process started with an application, but in order to move on to the next round, Cowperthwaite needed to write five short essays.
“In the online application, those who applied talked about the classes we took, the service opportunities we have done, the jobs we have had, and extracurriculars in which we are involved. I also had to write a few short essays. One was to compose a 140 character tweet about yourself, talk about a job that has not been created yet that you would like to do, why is service important and how has my service impacted my community and two others. The next round was interviews,” Cowperthwaite said.
The scholarship drew people from all over the nation. The annual scholarships from two different nationally recognized scholarships total up to $3.4 million.
“I think there were over 250,000 applicants. I found [the application] online this summer on fastweb.com. The winner was to be awarded a $20,000 scholarship,” Cowperthwaite said.
Just being nominated was a fantastic feeling for Cassie and has helped to show her that her hard work and dedication to her schoolwork has been well recognized.
“Being nominated is the best feeling in the world because someone is recognizing you for doing something as simple as being you. On top of that, it made me realize that you don’t have to be the best at everything to be recognized. You just have to be passionate about something and be different. It also made me want to just apply for more scholarships. In fact, I just had an interview today for the Golden Apple Scholarship,” Cowperthwaite said.
Cowperthwaite will be attending the Loyola University of Chicago next year. Though she did not qualify to move further in the Coca Cola program, her accomplishments are well noted and prestigious.
“I’m beyond excited and happy that all of my hard work is paying off, and I’m realizing a little more each day that you don’t have to be the best at everything to be noticed,” Cowperthwaite said.
Scholarships are a great way to get money for college and a way to ‘reward yourself’ for the hard work that has been put in through your career.
“It is so important to apply for scholarships because I am finally being rewarded for all the hard work I’ve been putting in throughout high school. Everything finally is worth it, and that is the best feeling,” Cowperthwaite said.
About 60 percent of college students graduate with student loan debt, and about two-thirds of full-time students pay for their college with scholarships or grants. Every year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education as well as colleges and universities. Additionally, about $3.3 billion in gift aid is awarded by private sources, according to debt.org.
“I would encourage everyone to apply for scholarships and find something unique about yourself that no one knows whether it’s an obsession, a trip, experience, or class. There is always something out there that will fit your needs. Also, don’t give up if you don’t get one. Keep looking! Organizations are looking for many more people to give money to than most think,” Cowperthwaite said.