Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Awards Prestigious Four-Year College Scholarship to 61 Class of 2021 Graduates

A previous cohort of Cooke College Scholars pose together.

Lansdowne, VA — The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today announced that 61 graduating high school seniors will receive the Cooke College Scholarship. This year’s recipients, who represent 26 states, will receive up to $40,000 annually to cover costs associated with their undergraduate education, as they go on to attend some of the nation’s top colleges and universities next fall.

As the pandemic continues to cause economic disruptions in the lives of American families, college application rates have seen a dramatic decline among low-income and first-generation students. According to the Common App, applications from first-generation students declined by one percent. The Cooke College Scholarship Program seeks to close the gaps in higher education access for driven students with financial need. Cooke College Scholars will receive financial support, along with ongoing educational advising from Foundation staff and access to a network of over 2,800 active Scholars and Alumni. Scholars will also receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and access to graduate school funding.

“The class of 2021 is incredibly inspiring — they’ve persisted through a year of unprecedented trials as they navigated remote learning, rapidly changing family finances, and of course, deep concerns over the health of their communities. Paying for college shouldn’t be another barrier,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “At the Foundation, we remain deeply committed to ensuring that finances do not stand in the way of college success for the Scholars we are able to support. We know the resilience and accomplishments of these students will only add to our community of Scholars, and we are very excited to welcome them.”

This year, students applied for the Cooke College Scholarship from all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Marianas, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The Foundation evaluated each submission, and selected Scholars based on their academic ability, persistence, leadership, and financial need. Scholars will go on to study in fields such as biological science, engineering, computer science, and political science.

These 61 Scholars join the 43 current Cooke Young Scholars selected in February to continue to receive the organization’s support to form the 2021 cohort of 104 new College Scholars. A full list of the 2021 Cooke College Scholars, including the high schools and states they represent, can be found below.


Anna Peeples – Alabama School of Mathematics and Science


Merlin D’souza – Casa Grande Union High School
Karla Ramos Gonzalez – North High School


Esther An* – Choate Rosemary Hall
Alexis Colmenares – Southwest High School
Yulianna Cruz-Trinidad* – Cate School
Habib Jaffer – Tahquitz High School
Joselyn Martinez* – Notre Dame High School
Thuyvi Nguyen* – Kipp San Jose Collegiate
Adriana Torres Ceja – Desert Mirage High School
Audrey Vargas – Sweetwater High School


Gashon Hussein – Smoky Hill High School


Sophia Abolfathi – Deland High School
Giuliana Cabrera – Archimedean Upper Conservatory
Caio Carcaioli Bonin – Freedom High School
Darrel Creary – Atlantic Community High School
Nickolas Jimenez – William R Boone High School
Jade Klacko* – Pine Crest School
Sully Maley* – Saint Stephens Episcopal School
Suhaah Nadir – Cypress Creek High School
Andres Rincon – Coral Reef Senior High School
Megan Vaz* – Phillips Academy
Andrea Velazquez – South Broward High School


Grace Ahn – Mill Creek High School
Eunice Chon – Howard High School
Irene Kwon* – Phillips Academy
Eva Lewis* – Tallulah Falls School
Kennedy Odiboh – Shiloh High School
Ray Phillips* – Gordon Lee Memorial High School


Esha Akhtar* – Lawrenceville School
Seunghee Han – Adlai E Stevenson High School
Robert Igbokwe* – Latin School of Chicago
Natalia Masnica – Lincoln Park High School
Abdu Sahibousidq* – Phillips Academy
Summer Smentek* – Plainfield South High School
Marc Trevino* – Lincoln-Way West High School


Karla Guerra – Ben Davis High School


Jhaughanessy Morris* – Floyd Central High School


Vani Pandian* – Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts
Joel Walker* – Donaldsonville High School


Linh Nguyen – Deering High School


Tsegazeab Beteselassie – Wheaton High School
Sam Cho* – Montgomery Blair High School
Chela Cunningham – Severn School
Alan Gutierrez – Paint Branch High School
Andrej Klema* – Groton School
Joseph Loy – Francis Scott Key High School
Yeabsira Moges – Wheaton High School
Sarah Rad – Baltimore City College


Chan Ju* – Northfield Mount Hermon School
Indy Rodriguez – KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate


Zaharaa Altwaij – Crestwood High School
Lily Brenner* – West Bloomfield High School


Natalie Gerads* – Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
Diamond Thlang – Harding High School
Eric Wang – Central High School


Jonathan Paolo Bautista* – Jackson Academy


Jaekeb Harper* – Phillips Exeter Academy


Nalissa Blanc – Union County Vocational Technical School
Larissa Garcia Flores – Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School
Krisna Panchal – Dwight Morrow High School
Azeez Richardson – Science Park High School
Adrian Vicioso* – Dwight Englewood School


Jason Chen – Kingston High School
Mohamed Coulibaly – Manhattan Hunter College – High School of Science
Ericka Familia* – Horace Mann School
Efua Forson – Mount Vernon STEAM Academy
Jaden Garrett* – Packer Collegiate Institute
Alex Leonardi* – Hunter College High School
Ana Ramos De Jesus – Manhattan Hunter College – High School of Science
Ahmed Shekhani* – Stuyvesant High School


Olivia Green – Kings Mountain High School
Yasmin Leon-Mateo – North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Sheidy Rios-Vazquez – Walter M Williams High School
Lucas Stokoszynski* – Eugene Ashley High School


Madison Adkins – Jackson High School
Dom Jocas* – Western Reserve Academy
Rain Jocas* – Western Reserve Academy


Kareena Patel – Sulphur High School
Rori Reiswig* – Harding Charter Preparatory High School


Hyunjin Lee* – Conestoga High School
Tori Sullivan* – Princeton Day School


Rashon Green – Scotts Branch High School


Gerardo Bravo – IDEA College Preparatory McAllen
Chi Cap – Alief Early College High School
Joelly Cortes – Harmony Science Academy
Hamzeh Hamdan – Coronado High School
Sidra Hassan – Margaret Long Wisdom High School
Cameron Lozano* – Mansfield Timberview High School
Hector Martinez* – Mathematics and Science Academy
Ha Nguyen – L C Anderson High School
Ian Poe* – Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School
Michelle Ramos – IDEA Welasco College Prep
Javier Rodriguez – Carnegie Vanguard High School
Maxx Shearod* – Saint John’s School
Gia-Uyen Tran* – Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science
John Venegas Juarez – YES Preparatory Schools: Southeast


Yiyang Chen – Stone Bridge High School
Debby Lee* – Episcopal High School
Siboniso Mthethwa – Orange County High School
Mahia Rahman – Washington-Liberty High School
Joshua Salazar – James Madison High School


Natalie McVay* – Timberline High School


Kaylinn Gosney – Kaycee High School


*Indicates that this student is also a current Cooke Young Scholar.



The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded over $222 million in scholarships to over 2,800 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $115 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. www.jkcf.org