Aiden Ackerman Receives the 2023-2024 Coca-Cola Scholarship

Senior Aiden Ackerman receives the title of Coca-Cola Scholar 2023-2024.

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By David Paul

Recently, senior Aiden Ackerman received the title of Coca-Cola Scholar, an honor awarded to 150 students from across the country. The Coca-Cola Scholarship offers $20,000 per year towards the college educations of recognized students. 

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation was founded in 1986 by the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola bottlers. Leaders of Coca-Cola began to make routine large annual financial gifts to students that eventually became formalized as the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. In its first year, 150 high school graduates were awarded four-year grants to college. 

Typically, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation receives over 100,000 applicants every year, and from this applicant pool, 1,500 students are selected to be Semi-Finalists. From the 1,500, 250 applicants are selected to be Regional Finalists. From this stage, Regional Finalists complete interviews, after which 150 of these finalists are selected. 

               Stuyvesant students typically find out about opportunities such as this scholarship through the resources provided by the school faculty and bulletin. “When I was in the 9th grade, one day I read Ms. Ingram's weekly update and came across the [scholarship],” Ackerman said. 

The requirements to apply for this scholarship are the following: one must be a current high school senior who is graduating from a United States high school or program during the academic year in which the applicant applies for the scholarship; students must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or temporary residents; carry a minimum of 3.00 GPA at the end of their junior year of high school; and may not have familial connections with the Coca-Cola Company. 

To apply for the Coca-Cola Scholarship, students must show both academic and extracurricular credentials. The application itself is a lengthy process, and the scholarship is highly competitive. “It’s crucial to gather essential information carefully and avoid making mistakes. My advice is to start preparing the application early, because it’s in phases, and for each you will need to write more in-depth about your volunteer and extracurricular activities,” Ackerman said.

Since extracurricular activities play a central role in the application process, a student's journey outside of school is extremely important. “I have been involved in various fundraising activities for Alzheimer’s and other associations. This consistent commitment has persisted, and I still am active in these efforts. During holiday seasons, particularly Thanksgiving, I volunteer at soup kitchens and food banks, providing meals and bank food to homeless and low-income families,” Ackerman said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ackerman engaged in activities that he had access to, and took the opportunity to start a few organizations himself. “I am the founder and president of two online learning clubs. established as registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations during the quarantine summer of 2020, to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 to education. I collaborated with fellow volunteer tutors and provided free online courses covering a variety of topics for young kids, and I still work to organize lessons for them,” Ackerman said. 

When receiving this scholarship title, Ackerman felt recognized for his accomplishments throughout high school career. “I felt excited, because it was a recognition of my efforts and what I did for my community. It further motivated me to live up to that title and improve myself more: I set up my goals and work towards them,” Ackerman said. 

Upon reflection, Ackerman acknowledges that the Coca-Cola Scholarship application process is lengthy and competitive with highly competent applicants from across the country, but he recommends that students apply in spite of the difficulty. “It is always worth a shot, and a great way to get recognized for your efforts in bettering your communities and your participation in activities, if that is something you do,” Ackerman said.