Tyler Junior College students Caleigh Reese and Griselle Esparza have been selected as 2019 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars.
Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships. In addition to a monetary award, each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.
Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies and will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention, PTK Catalyst, April 4-6 in Orlando, Florida.
Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service.
Caleigh Reese, a sophomore general studies major from Rusk, has been named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.
At TJC, she serves as president of the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and public relations officer on the Student Senate. She is also a Rusk TJC Citizens Promise scholar and treasurer for the Texas Junior College Student Government Association.
After graduating from TJC in May, Reese plans to transfer to The University of Texas at Tyler and pursue a career in nursing.
“TJC has been such a blessing,” Reese said. “I have been able to grow as a leader by being involved in Student Senate and Phi Theta Kappa. The faculty and staff have been very supportive and instrumental in the progress I’ve made toward achieving my dreams.”
Griselle Esparza, a sophomore biology major of Tyler, originally from Monterrey, Mexico, is a Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
At TJC, Esparza is vice president of scholarships in the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, serves as vice president of the Student Senate and is a member of the Hispanic Student Organization. She was recently named a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Last August, she was named a 2018 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar.
Following graduation from TJC in May, Esparza plans to transfer to a university and major in biology.
“I am so incredibly thankful for my experience at Tyler Junior College,” Esparza said. “From having amazing advisors and professors to being part of life-changing organizations, I will forever cherish my time as an Apache.”
TJC President for Branch Locations and District Provost Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “Our entire college community joins in celebrating both Caleigh and Griselle for being recognized as being among the very best, through their selection as 2019 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars. TJC is a world-class institution, with distinguished alumni, who in addition to having significant accomplishments, always remember where it all started.”
Mejia continued, “Our Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, Alpha Omicron, is recognized as being one of the very best in the world; and we value the leadership by Advisor Gigi Delk and the stellar team of advisors and educators, who all are invested in the hallmarks of scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship.”
Mejia is an honorary member of PTK Chapters Beta Epsilon Mu, from South Texas College, and Alpha Omicron, from TJC.
“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”
Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa president and CEO, said, “We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures. Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.