Utley nominated for Coca-Cola scholarship

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2002

Greenville High senior Elizabeth Utley was recently chosen to compete with seniors from high schools nationwide for a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Utley is one of 252 seniors chosen to compete for cash scholarships and she will travel to Atlanta on April 25 for an interview with a national selection committee. She will also tour the city, meet with former Coca-Cola Scholars and participate in several activities, including a community service project.

Utley will be competing for one of 52 four-year scholarships worth $20,000 each and 200 four-year scholarships worth $4,000 each. The 2002 Class of Coca-Cola Scholars will be recognized at a banquet hosted by Coca-Cola, educators, local dignitaries and friends of the Scholars Foundation.

Utley said Coca-Cola sent several applications to each school and she decided to fill one out and compete for the chance at a scholarship. She said when she was notified last month that she was a semi-finalist, she was surprised.

"I was really shocked at first, but it is a great honor," Utley said. "It was very unexpected, but this is an honor better than anything I've ever received."

Utley said that credit goes to the young boy she babysits for inspiring her essay for the application. He is 12 years old and is autistic. She said she feels that being chosen as a finalist is due to the subject of her essay.

Utley was chosen from an initial pool of over 91,000 high school seniors representing more than 15,000 high schools nationwide. She said she is a bit nervous about the competition in Atlanta but is excited about the opportunity to meet new people.

"I am a little nervous but am excited about meeting the people who will be there," she said. "I am just excited to have this opportunity."

Utley was selected based on academic excellence and school and community extracurricular activities. She said she plans to attend the University of Alabama next fall and major in psychology.