Jeremy Evans must have felt as if he won the lottery Wednesday when he received an email from the Coca-Cola Foundation informing him that he is one of 150 recipients of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship, a four-year renewable scholarship worth $20,000 per year.
“I was so ecstatic,” said the Lake City High School senior. “It is really unbelievable.”
Evans said he was told notifications would be sent Friday, and getting an email while at work Wednesday with the subject line “Status Update” at first made him think the email was to inform him that he was not selected to receive the scholarship. “I was afraid to look at it at first,” he said.
Evans was named a semifinalist in January. From the semifinalists, 250 regional finalists were selected to participate in a 20-minute interview with a Regional Interview Committee, comprised of a foundation staff member and previous Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship recipients.
Coca-Cola flew Evans and other regional finalists to Atlanta for the interview. “It was supposed to be a 20-minute interview, but it actually lasted 30 minutes, so I felt like it went well,” he said.
Evans will return to Atlanta April 19 for four days where he will attend a banquet for scholarship recipients and will have the opportunity to meet previous scholarship recipients. “I’m so excited to be able to meet the people behind the program,” he said.
“As a premier scholarship provider, we recognize our role in helping young people achieve their college goals,” said Mark Davis, President of the Foundation. “The economy continues to affect many students’ ability to attend the college of their choice, so it is critical we continue to stay the course. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation received nearly 86,000 applications this year, and the Semifinalists are truly some of the most accomplished students in the country.”
Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic excellence, leadership and service demonstrated in school and community activities.
Evans said he plans to attend either Coastal Carolina University or Appalachian State University and major in biology with plans to attend medical school and specialize in oncology. Both universities have offered him tuition incentives to attend. Evans said ASU offered a full academic scholarship pending an interview at the university, but that interview was scheduled for the same day as his interview for the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Evans said he hopes to be able to reschedule his scholarship interview at ASU.
In addition to tuition incentives, Evans said Coastal Carolina told him with his dual credits earned through Lake City High’s Early College program in partnership with Florence-Darlington Technical College, he will be only one course shy of entering the university as a sophomore. As a result, Evans said university officials told him he could complete his pre-med coursework and earn a master’s degree in business administration in four years.
Evans is active in extracurricular activities at Lake City High School as well as in the community while maintaining a 4.8 GPA. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and participates in the school’s Teacher Cadet program. He also was selected as one of 24 participants for the Junior Leadership Program of Florence County, a nine-month program for rising sophomore and juniors. The program dedicates one day a month to learning about a certain aspect of the community and incorporates site visits and team-building exercises.
Evans also serves as president of Dramatic Coffee Beans, an interactive drama club that provides a way for teenagers to discuss issues in their community. During the summers, Evans volunteers at St. Joseph of the Pines, an assisted living facility in Southern Pines, NC.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, a joint effort of Coca-Cola Bottlers across America and The Coca-Cola Company, is one of the largest corporate-sponsored, achievement-based scholarship programs of its kind in the United States. The program recognizes a diverse group of extraordinary high school seniors who have demonstrated academic and civic excellence in their schools and communities.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation was created in 1986 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola and to establish a legacy for the education of tomorrow’s leaders through college scholarships.