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Alumni Accolades October 2013

Mansfield wins two national awards

alison mansfield

At a ceremony held at the Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington D.C., Alison Mansfield (2013), a Yale freshman and Homestead High School graduate was presented two scholarships by Claes Nobel, a senior member of the family that founded the Nobel Prizes and the National Society of High School Scholars. Mansfield’s awards included a $2,500 Robert P. Sheppard Leadership Award and a $1,000 National Scholar Award. More information can be found in this press release.


Four Upper Midwest Emmys for Loetscher


Congratulations to Jolene Loetscher (1997) and her husband Nate Burdine who received a W3 Award from International Academy of the Visual Arts for a web video they produced. They won four Upper Midwest Emmys!


2005 Scholar featured on The Katie Couric Show!

Congratulations to Kristina Ellis (2005)!  She is the author of a newly published book called “Confessions of a Scholarship Winner”  and was featured on The Katie Couric Show! Kristina advised viewers to download the “Scholly” app, created by Scholar Christopher Gray (2010)! Now THAT is another great example of the power of this awesome network!



Boston NDS

On Saturday, September 21, a crew of 88 volunteers including a team of Coca-Cola Scholars and employees from the Coca-Cola plant in Needham, and a team from the Boston Red Sox scholarship program came together on Spectacle Island to clean up the island and its beaches. The Scholars partnered with Save the Harbor | Save the Bay for the second as part of the Coca-Cola Scholars National Day of Service.  The group enjoyed an incredibly beautiful day out on the island picking up trash, artifacts, and learning about the island’s storied past from Save the Harbor Director, Bruce Berman.


More Accolades:

Rocio Ortega (2012) is one of four teens chosen to be honored at the 2013 TEENNICK HALO AWARDS for her service to women who don’t have a voice through Global Girl Media and Girl Up.   Click here for the press release and be sure to watch the interactive live event on Sunday, Nov. 17th at 8 pm on Nick at Nite.

Kevin Kalra (2004) wrote an article that was published by the UN, a joint initiative of UNESCO, UNICEF, the UN Global Compact, and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education: The Smartest Investment: A Framework for Business Engagement in Education.

The publication was launched on Friday, September 20 by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education at the 2013 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit before 1,200 CEOs and business leaders. Read more in the press release.

Kevin also wrote a Q&A with Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, about why business is so fundamental to advancing global education goals.

Danny_Celebrates_Advent500Jennifer Grenardo (1996) is a published children’s book author! Her book Danny Celebrates Advent tells the story of Advent through Danny the Donkey and his family in this fun and animated book for early learners and includes crafts for parents and grandparents to do with their little ones.  It is published by Tau Publishing Company, Inc. with illustrations from Emmy-nominated artist, Jeff West and is now available here.

SAMSUNG CSCCrystal Moore (2003) had quite a summer! In May she graduated from The Duke University Fuqua School of Business, where she captained the team that won the Executive Leadership Council Business Case Competition. She spent the last few months interning in the White House Domestic Policy Council on the Education Team and contributed to the development and strategy of the President’s education policy agenda.  This month she joins The Parthenon Group as a Principal Consultant in September!

Samuel Wakefield (2001) is the author of the recently released book, Becoming Riley’s Dad: My Personal Journey as a Young Black Father.  It chronicles his experiences as a first time dad, providing tons of lessons and laughs along the way.  To contact him, or find more information about Samuel, his book, and his work go to

Unified Theater, founded by Micaela Connery (2004), has been awarded a $50,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation.  “The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation were some of the first people, outside the West Hartford community, to celebrate the work of Unified Theater,” Connery, said in a news release. “To receive this grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation for our national expansion feels like we’ve come full circle.”

Sejal Hathi (2009) founded “Girls Helping Girls” when she was just 15! Check out her recent article in The Huffington Post.

Congratulations to Tamara Klajn (2001), a top foreign policy practitioner on the #99under33 list by @diplocourier !

Marianne Ragins McGee (1991) just published another book on scholarships (her 4th) entitled “Winning  Scholarships for College”.  Check out her website:

Elisa ChanCongratulations to Elisa Chan (2007) who recently competed in the first ever “Miss Asian Las Vegas” pageant on Saturday, Oct 12, and won “Miss Chinese Las Vegas”,  “Miss Asian Las Vegas 1st Princess” and “Miss Asian Las Vegas Community Service”!  She was also asked to be a finalist for the upcoming Miss Nevada USA Pageant in January!

Elisa wrote us to say, “Growing up, I was the only Chinese student in my school and thus was very proud to be the sole recipient of the Coca-Cola Scholarship in the entire state. Winning the Miss Asian Las Vegas Community Service was especially meaningful to me, as it was reminiscent of me receiving the Coca-Cola Scholarship due to my strong civil service background.”

Congratulations to Alex Morse (2007), Mayor of Holyoke, MA, who received the most votes to run for his second term as Mayor against Jeff Stanek. Alex was elected for his first term in 2011 at just 22 years of age.  Read more about this mayoral race here.

Steven Olikara (2008) is co-founder and president of Millennial Action Project (M.A.P.), a nonprofit group dedicated to making “creative cooperation — rather than ideological conflict — the dominant mode of American political decision-making.”  Check out this article on one of its recent initiatives, the Congressional Future Caucus.

Kaitlyn Chana (2009) had a once-in-a-lifetime internship this summer at the TODAY Show in NYC where she learned about how they prepare for breaking news, the topics covered on the show and controversial interviews. One of her most memorable experiences working there was when the ‘Royal Baby’ was making headlines – a producer selected Kaitlyn to be one of the ‘Royal Announcers’ on the 3rd hour and Willie Geist, Al Roker and celebrity contributor Mel B. encouraged her to talk in a British accent as she wore a royal robe. Kaitlyn also had the pleasure of working on the 4th hour with Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb and participated in a dozen on-air segments.