Oak Harbor girls among the top for pop scholarship

Oak Harbor senior Katelyn Bristow - Courtesy photo
Oak Harbor senior Katelyn Bristow
— image credit: Courtesy photo

While many students spent their winter break lounging around in front of the television, two Oak Harbor girls were busy polishing up essays for a national scholarship application.

Katelyn Bristow and Adrianna Royal have been selected as 2011 Coca-Cola Scholars semifinalists. The Coca-Cola Scholars program awards $10,000 and $20,000 scholarships to graduating seniors to put toward an education at a post-secondary institution. The winners are chosen based on academic excellence and community service.

This year, nearly 71,000 seniors sent in applications. In a release on the program’s website, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation president, Mark Davis, said this year’s applicants “are truly some of the most accomplished students in the country.”

Though their competition was tough, Bristow and Royal made it through the first round when nearly 69,000 kids were dropped, placing them in the top 3 percent.

“I was surprised I made the first cut,” Bristow said. “My mom got an e-mail congratulating me.”

Bristow said she’s been researching a lot of national scholarships lately and simply happened upon the Scholars program. She plans to attend the University of Washington and major in architecture.

Bristow said the initial application mainly asked about the students’ community service to which she’s been extremely dedicated.

“It’s been my whole life,” she said.

Throughout the years Bristow has volunteered for the middle school’s track and field team, been a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, has tutored and has led beach cleanups with the National Honor Society and still found time to play volleyball, soccer and piano.

In an interview before winter break, she said the most time consuming part of completing her second application would be answering the essay questions.

Royal agrees.

“I think the most challenging part of the next application will be finding the time to write all the essays during winter break, since I am in the middle of basketball and writing a huge research essay,” she said.

Royal found out about the scholarship through Oak Harbor High School’s website.

“The counselors have been great about helping me find potential scholarships for college,” Royal said. “I decided to apply for this particular scholarship because it calls for well-rounded students, and I am involved in lots of activities.”

Royal isn’t exaggerating. She’s spent seven years in 4-H educating people about fiber arts. She taught more than 200 elementary students how to drop-spin and has made mittens for the homeless. Additionally, she’s collected dog food for the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation. Through the National Honor Society, she’s also participated in Salvation Army bell ringing, tutoring and beach cleanups. She said many of her community service hours have been spent teaching middle school students how to produce promotional videos for community nonprofits like the Oak Harbor Senior Center and HOPE riding center.

In college, Royal plans to major in kinesiolgy and minor in computer/technical education. She hopes to be an athletic trainer or a physical education teacher at a public school.

The girls’ second application was due Jan. 7 and a review selection committee made up of 30 teachers from universities and high schools throughout the country will choose 252 finalists. The finalists will then be invited to Atlanta in April to complete a final, face-to-face interview. The top 50 Scholars will receive $20,000 and the rest of the finalists will receive $10,000.

The scholarship program was created in 1986 to mark the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola and has given out approximately $44 million in scholarships since.

Oak Harbor senior Adrianna Royal

Courtesy photo

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