August 26, 2010

AMHERST, Mass. -- Three students entering Amherst College this fall are among 39 recipients nationwide who have been named Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholars this year.

As members of the 2010 class of College Scholars, Caitlin Blais of Braintree, Mass., Matthew Kurek of Boulder, Colo. and Sharleen Phillips of Toms River, NJ, have known each other and fellow Jack Kent Cooke Scholars for over five years now, having been selected as members of the Foundation’s Young Scholars program while they were in eighth grade.

The college scholarships represent the second phase of their relationship with the Foundation which will provide support to these students for as long as 14 years (from high school, to college, to graduate school).

Coming from 19 states and the District of Columbia, the 2010 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars have various interests but share one common bond: all are high-achieving students who have had to overcome economic and in some cases personal adversity to succeed. Every one of them also shares a deep and abiding passion for community service, something the Foundation strongly supports.

“Since they were in junior high, the Foundation has been working with these young people to nurture their talents and help them identify and develop what they most want to accomplish in their lives,” said Dr. Lawrence Kutner, the Foundation’s executive director. “They are our All-Americans and we are proud to continue to aid their journey through college and eventually to graduate school.”

 The students will receive scholarships of up to $30,000 per year for the next four years.

The Young Scholars program itself is growing more competitive each year. The Foundation annually receives applications from over 1,000 junior high school students nationwide.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to helping young people of exception promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation provides challenging opportunities to high achievers from lower-income families through its Young Scholars Program, generous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.