Forty-Five Cooke Young Scholars Are Named College Scholars and Will Attend Universities All Over the Country This Fall

A group of Cooke Young Scholars connect at their first summer event as rising 8th graders in 2018. Now, five years later, they have been named 2023 Cooke College Scholars.

Cooke Young Scholars will graduate into the prestigious Cooke College Scholarship Program and receive up to $55,000 per year to attend college

Lansdowne, VA (March 8, 2023) – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today that 45 Cooke Young Scholars have been accepted into the Cooke College Scholarship Program. The Cooke Foundation will provide these 45 high school seniors with up to $55,000 per year for up to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree through the College Scholarship Program. Cooke College Scholars also have access to comprehensive academic and career advising, funding to study abroad, internship and conference stipends, and a thriving community of motivated peers in the Cooke Scholar community. They will also be eligible to apply for the Cooke Graduate Scholarship after graduating with their bachelor’s degree, which is worth up to $150,000.

The students named today entered the Cooke Young Scholars Program as 8th graders in 2019. As a cohort, they have attended two residential summer programs together. During the summer before 8th grade, Young Scholars spent three weeks at the University of Pennsylvania exploring social and political issues through project-based service-learning and academic study. This past summer, Scholars took part in an inquiry‐based enrichment experience at the University of Connecticut, participating in experiential research projects.

Cooke Young Scholars and their families work one-on-one with educational advisers to create an individualized learning plan and maximize their high school experience. Members of this cohort have founded and led organizations, won regional and national academic competitions, published their works, been chosen as captains of teams, and conducted research at the collegiate level.

“This particular group of students experienced many pandemic-related challenges in high school, such as virtual learning and cancelled programs and events,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Seppy Basili. “If their perseverance throughout these disruptions speaks for what is to come, this cohort is going to thrive throughout the next four years.”

The Young Scholars Program application is now open for the Foundation’s next cohort of exceptional young learners. High-achieving 7th graders with financial need have until March 11, 2023 to apply for this five-year pre-college scholarship. Recipients will be eligible for the Cooke College Scholarship and Cooke Graduate Scholarship upon high school and college graduation, respectively.

Visit the Foundation’s website to view eligibility requirements and begin an application for the Cooke Young Scholars Program.

The Cooke Young Scholars Program serves as a pathway to the Foundation’s prestigious College Scholarship; that application is open to high school seniors each fall. Recently, the Foundation announced that 626 high school seniors were selected as Cooke College Scholar Semifinalists from more than 5,600 applicants nationwide. Cooke College Scholar finalists who were not previously Cooke Young Scholars will be selected at the end of March for the 2023 cohort.

The names of the newest cohort of Cooke College Scholars from the Young Scholars Program can be found below, listed along with the states and high schools they represent.


Jubilee Forbess – Jessieville High School


Emily Amador – Stevenson School
Isabella Caltitla – Synergy Quantum Academy
Chris Gomez – Phillips Academy
Julian Harrison – Polytechnic School
Christine Lee – Phillips Academy
Annabelle Raley – Design Science High School
Ashton Szarnicki – Phillips Exeter Academy
Michelle To – Proof School

District of Columbia

Art Keys – Landon School


Ron Alvarez – Doral Academy Charter High School
Ben Cherek – Pensacola High School
Zachary Hessler – Vero Beach High School
Matthew Núñez – South Fork High School
Alejandra Ramos – Lely High School
Pepper Rhodes – Cypress Lake High School
Om Taropawala – Windermere Preparatory School


Addison Payne – Darlington School
Bishop Jackson – Thomas County Central High School


Carson Phelps-Giese – Wichita Collegiate School


Nathan Cho – Montgomery Blair High School
Kellsie Lewis – Bryn Mawr School


Christine Song – Mayo High School

North Carolina

Liz Atem – Asheville School
Leya Dereje – East Mecklenburg High School
Isabel Gray – Lawrenceville School
Brooke Mahany – Onslow Early College High School
Shelby Parker – Dalton L McMichael High School
Donnie Wilkie – North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

New Mexico

Weston Keller – Santa Fe Preparatory School

New York

Fabriciana De Soriano – Indiana University High School


Maya Feron – Wellington Senior High School


Christy Guan – The Hockaday School


Calder Burke – J R Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School
Dennis Losett – Milton Academy

Puerto Rico

Carlos Abudo Maldonado – Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola

Rhode Island

Ramona Foley – Lincoln School

South Carolina

Catarina Neves Costa – James F Byrnes High School
Xander Widener – Cardinal Newman High School


Alisyn Parfait – Webb School
Matthew Mueller – Ravenwood High School


Matthew Barnett – Richland High School
Gerardo Gonzalez Guerrero – Rains High School


Kyle Anderson – Riverton High School


Aliyah Oakley – Granby High School

One additional Cooke College Scholar recipient did not opt into publicity.


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 almost $250 million in scholarships to nearly 3,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. 

Media Contact: Julia Florence,