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Three seniors soar to ECU’s scholar level

TUES. |4-29-23| FEATURES

      With seniors wrapping up their college and scholarship applications, three Rose students recently received the great news of being accepted as EC Scholars at East Carolina University (ECU). Seniors Sarah Grace Aldridge, Perry Eveleth and Kinsley Tate White found out on Feb. 28 they were selected to be in the program by receiving an envelope in their mailbox. 

The EC Scholars Award Program is a merit-based scholarship that is valued at $64,000, which includes many opportunities such as a stipend for studying abroad. There were around 1,000 applicants, from which 50 finalists were chosen, and among these 50 finalists, 20 EC Scholars were selected. The deadline for the chosen scholars to accept or decline the award is Apr. 15. 

    “E stands for excellence; the motto is that we strive for excellence in everything we do, C is collaboration so working in a team with people who are different than us and taking our diverse ideas and opinions…, S stands for service which goes along with ECU’s mission statement to serve the community,” Aldridge said. 

     Aldridge made the decision to apply for EC Scholars because she knew that the only thing the application could do was open up more opportunities for her future.

     “When I saw [EC Scholars] on the application and heard more about it, my parents really pushed me and encouraged me to apply,” Aldridge said. “I was like ‘I don’t think I’m going to get a full ride but I’ll do it anyway.’”

      White felt heavily encouraged by her parents during the application process of becoming an EC Scholar as well.

     “For my video for the EC Scholars application, I got my dad to video me flying in the plane and he took off work for a day to come and video me because I did the video in a cockpit, so he was definitely helpful,” White said.

     For Eveleth, EC Scholars was the primary reason he applied to ECU. 

     “I had to apply through the general honors college application, and once I received acceptance into the honors college, I found out I was one of the top 50 finalists for EC Scholars,” Eveleth said. “Then I was invited to selection Sunday on Feb. 19, where I got to interview to become an EC Scholar.”

     Selection Sunday was a chance for the 50 finalists to meet each other, have interviews, information sessions and panels.

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     “They have current EC Scholars be hosts for the finalists, so I had a really encouraging host who was with me during the whole day,” Aldridge said. “We did group activities and we got to meet people, so that made me feel a little better; it kind of eased my nerves.”

     White had heard from those at selection Sunday and people who previously applied for the award that the interview is more of a conversation where they are simply interested in getting to know you.

     “I was honestly kind of excited going into the interview because it is a chance for you to let your personality and character show in a way that a paper, or a resume and sometimes even an essay can’t,” White said.

     White had the opportunity to learn about the value of the EC Scholars community on selection Sunday, not just in terms of social benefits, but also in terms of what it means to be a scholar after college.

     “Obviously other than the financial benefits, there is a high level of prestige and benefits of EC Scholars that you’re able to carry the title with you past graduation,” White said. “From what I’ve discussed with other EC Scholars,’re held to a different level of standards, which is how I best thrive.”

     By continuing to put in her hard work, Aldridge was able to maintain her motivation during the long process of receiving this award.

     “Throughout high school, I’ve always worked so hard and also with my extracurriculars and leadership roles and I didn’t really apply for any other prestigious colleges, so I knew applying for this full ride would be the culmination of all the hard work I’ve put in,” Aldridge said. “I think that’s what really got me through it and helped me be so determined to get it.”

     White is the kind of person that needs to know right away what the decision is, even if it is good or bad. Even though she wasn't the one to open it, she had asked her parents to let her know the response as soon as they received it in the mail.

     “My dad called me and I hung up on him and then my mom texted me to answer the phone, so I got a little bit worried thinking that something was wrong, so I answered it and it was a merged call,” White said. “The letter when you open it plays ECU music and [my parents didn’t say a word] and they opened it and played it, and I immediately knew and started crying outside of Mr. Garner’s classroom.”

     As all of the chosen EC Scholars have been notified, they must start making the decision whether or not they would like to attend ECU.

     “I’m waiting on a couple of Ivy league schools that I would potentially play baseball at and I’ll find out March 30 about those, which gives me 15 days after to decide if I want to accept it, but I’m definitely leaning towards ECU as my top option,” Eveleth said. 

     Aldridge has decided to attend ECU in the fall and she feels as if she will be able to have her own experience even though ECU is in Greenville.

     “Growing up I always wanted to leave Greenville because I always wanted to explore my own and be independent of my parents, but over the past year, my desire to go to ECU has flipped that view around,” Aldridge said. “Last week I went down to ECU’s campus for the first time and walked around campus and it truly felt like I was in a different world.”

     With there being other scholarships that students, such as White, are receiving, it has started to make these given opportunities tough to choose from.

     “I would choose between EC Scholars and the Park, so at this point, it’s just making that decision between the two,” White said. “Not just because of the finances, but because of the opportunities with each of the scholarships.”

     Aldridge would like rising seniors to take her advice when it comes to the processes of applying to college in general, as well as scholarships. 

     “Keep going at it, even though it can be really tedious and not frustrating, but annoying when you’re in the middle of the process; it’s just a lot of work,” Aldridge said. “Just remember how far you have come from freshman year and all of the work you have put in to get to that point.”

     Graphic by Kemorah Ullah

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