The Cherokee County School District announced Wednesday the district’s class of 2013 received more than $20 million in academic and athletic scholarships, not including HOPE scholarships, and six graduates were awarded highly competitive National Merit Scholarships.
Creekview High School 2013 valedictorian Victoria Cochran won the National Merit Citizen Eco-Drive Scholarship, and the 18-year-old will attend Harvard University to study chemistry.
“I am starting this upcoming semester, so I’m really excited about that,” Cochran said. “At this point I think I want to become a pharmaceutical researcher and study medicine and just see where that takes me.”
Cochran said she’s always been very curious about how the world works, and said taking honors chemistry as a sophomore and AP chemistry as a junior got her interested and involved in the field.
“I think I want to go into the organic chemistry side of it, and look into research,” she said.
Cochran said as part of her application process, she had to write a personal essay and list her extra-curricular activities.
“I played softball with the school, fast-pitch softball all four years, I was involved in chorus all four years as well, and did things like all-state chorus for three of those years and other activities in chorus, and I was involved in a few service organizations like the National Beta Club, all four years, I was vice president of that my senior year and then a few others here and there,” Cochran said.
Cochran said her sophomore year AP World History teacher Michael Sinco was influential in growing her love for learning.
“He really got me to be really involved and inquisitive,” Cochran said. “He really just helped my passion for learning. … He pushed me to always do better, so he’s kind of been like a mentor throughout high school for me.”
Other CCSD graduates who received National Merit Scholarships include: Alyssa Baker, Ahila Mannivannan and Duncan Morgan from Etowah High School; and Ian Donn and Connor Wilkinson from River Ridge High School.
About 1.5 million high school juniors from about 22,000 schools entered the competition for the National Merit Scholarships in 2011 with the preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, and last fall about 16,000 semifinalists were named, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.
To become finalists in the competition, applicants had to submit a detailed application, including writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions.
The applicants had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official and earn SAT scores that confirmed their qualifying test score from junior year.