Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Central senior named 2024 Coca-Cola Scholar

Central+senior+Athena+Chen+was+named+one+of+150+Coke+Scholars%2C+and+was+awarded+a+%2420%2C000+scholarship.
Photo Courtesy of Athena Chen
Central senior Athena Chen was named one of 150 Coke Scholars, and was awarded a $20,000 scholarship.

Senior Athena Chen was recognized as one of 150 Coca-Cola scholars across America this year, with the reward of $20,000 towards college tuition.

“Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities,” according to the Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation.

There are 103,000 in first round applicants in the first round of the competition. That number is cut down to 2,500 semi-finalists, then down to 250 finalists and the final list of 150 scholars.

Chen found out she won the scholarship via email.

It was very anticlimactic,” Chen said. “I was sick that day and I just went downstairs and checked my phone and [read the email].”

Chen wrote multiple essays and was interviewed by past Coca-Cola scholars as a part of the interview process.

“I knew someone who got [the scholarship] two years ago, and I just remember looking at the website and being in awe and it was just such a cool thing and I just wanted to try it,” Chen said.

The scholarship comes with opportunities beyond money, according to Chen.

“The intangible part of it is the network it exposes you to,” Chen said. “In April we’re going to a Coca-Cola Scholars’ weekend in Atlanta,” Chen said. “It introduces the entirety of the alumni, which I think is 6,900 people, and I feel like it’s a great network for getting those job opportunities out of college.”

Chen believes there are benefits beyond the networking, too.

“I’m excited to meet the other scholars and alumni from the program,” Chen said. “Everyone has their own niche interest so it makes for a group of very diverse backgrounds. It’ll be cool to meet them and learn from each other.”

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About the Contributor
Noah Rozek
Noah Rozek, Page Designer
Noah Rozek is a senior at Central. He enjoys listening to Kanye West and swedish rap. Noah enjoys his work at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. He also likes writing about the human experience and interviewing.
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