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Seniors named semifinalists to 2023 Coca-Cola Scholars

MADISON – Nine Madison seniors have qualified as semifinalists to Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation scholarships.

The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola bottlers agreed to fund the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation to commemorate the centennial of Coca-Cola in 1986. This commitment to education allows the foundation to assist students each year with scholarships of $3.4 million.

Five students from James Clemens High School and four teenagers from Bob Jones High School are semifinalists. This distribution gives Madison City Schools a total of nine students within the field of 49 finalists in Alabama, or 18 percent across high schools statewide, proving Madison’s dominance for the awards.

Puja Chopade, Kennedy Gore, Emily Lee and Ashwin Prabhakar are semifinalists from Bob Jones. Yuti Das, Neha Singhal, Shreya Sunil, Max Wyche and Jerry Zheng are the semifinalists from James Clemens.

To qualify as a semifinalist, Puja Chopade said she had to highlight community involvement, leadership positions and extracurricular activities. This list included her involvement in co-founding and leading Bob Jones Science Academy and work as a chess coach and tournament director in Madison City Chess League’s official tournaments.

Chopade included her roles as President, Bob Jones Spanish Honors Society, Biology Club and National Science Honors Society; Team Lead, Science Olympiad team; and Co-Captain, Bob Jones Science Bowl team.

“When I found out that I was selected as a semifinalist, I was very excited that my volunteer and leadership efforts were being recognized on a national scale,” Chopade said. “I recently submitted my Phase 2 application and hope to be selected as a Regional Finalist in January.”

In college, Chopade is interested in studying biomedical and biological sciences.

“I want to commend (these) students for qualifying as Coca-Cola Scholarship semifinalists,” MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said in a District Update. “They’re just a small example of students whose academic achievements earn financial assistance to further their education after high school.”

After 1,557 Semifinalist applications are reviewed, a review panel will select approximately 250 Regional Finalists. The panel will notify students in late January.

These Regional Finalists then will participate in Zoom interviews in mid- to late February to select 150 Coca-Cola Scholars. Officials will announce specific dates for interviews when they notify students about advancement to the application’s next phase.

The final stage of the process is attending Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta on April 13-16, 2023. Coca-Cola Scholars must attend this weekend event to receive the $20,000 scholarship.

The Scholars Foundation will pay all travel and lodging expenses for scholars.

Starting Aug. 1, 2023, high school seniors can apply for a scholarship at the foundation’s website, coca-colascholarsfoundation.org.

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