Senior Addison Payne is among 45 high school seniors participating in the Cooke Young Scholars Program who have been named Cooke College Scholars for the fall, announced The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The Cooke Foundation will provide these 45 high school seniors with up to $55,000 per year for up to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree through the College Scholarship Program.
"I found out about the Young Scholars program after participating in the Duke TIP program when I was in seventh grade," said Payne, a four-year day student from Acworth, Ga., who serves as president of the Concert Choir, secretary of the Honor Council, and member of the diving team. "My mom and I decided it would be a good opportunity for me and that I should apply. I ended up being admitted into the program as a member of Cohort 18. They advised me in selecting a high school and have helped me finance my education here at Darlington as well."
In addition to the scholarship, Cooke College Scholars have access to comprehensive academic and career advising, funding to study abroad, internship and conference stipends, and a thriving community of motivated peers in the Cooke Scholar community. They will also be eligible to apply for the Cooke Graduate Scholarship after graduating with their bachelor’s degree, which is worth up to $150,000.
“This particular group of students experienced many pandemic-related challenges in high school, such as virtual learning and cancelled programs and events,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Seppy Basili. “If their perseverance throughout these disruptions speaks for what is to come, this cohort is going to thrive throughout the next four years.”
Payne and the other Cooke College Scholars entered the Cooke Young Scholars Program as eighth-graders in 2019. As a cohort, they have attended two residential summer programs together. During the summer before eighth grade, Young Scholars spent three weeks at the University of Pennsylvania exploring social and political issues through project-based service-learning and academic study. This past summer, Scholars took part in an inquiry‐based enrichment experience at the University of Connecticut, participating in experiential research projects.
"I have met so many amazing people and have had great interactions with my two advisers and all the staff at the Foundation," said Payne. "I am thrilled to be able to continue to be supported by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as a College Scholar. I am sure that I will be able to connect with many more scholars and alumni as I make the transition from Young Scholar to College Scholar."
Cooke Young Scholars and their families work one-on-one with educational advisers to create an individualized learning plan and maximize their high school experience. Members of this cohort have founded and led organizations, won regional and national academic competitions, published their works, been chosen as captains of teams, and conducted research at the collegiate level.
"I will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall, which would not be possible without the generosity of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation," said Payne. "They have truly changed my life, and for that I will be forever grateful."
Click here to learn more about the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.