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Five LCPS seniors in running for top merit scholarships

Five seniors from three LCPS high schools have cleared a major hurdle as they contend for prestigious merit scholarships.

David Phillippe of South Lenoir High School and Derrian Wilson of Kinston High School are semi-finalists for both the Morehead-Cain Scholarship to the University of North Carolina and the Park Scholarship to N.C. State University.

Courtney Humphrey of North Lenoir High School is a semi-finalist for the Morehead-Cain and classmate Claire Hollingsworth is a semi-finalist for the Park. Kinston High senior Hadiyah Whitfield is a semi-finalist for the Park.

All are still in the running after the pool of applicants for both scholarships was reduced by more than 80 percent in recent weeks.

Seniors are selected as semi-finalists on the basis of their academic record, references and information submitted in the application process, including a series of essays. Semi-finalists advance on the strength of video interviews with university and scholarship representatives. Those interviews for the Park are scheduled for Saturday. The Morehead-Cain interviews were held in early December.

The five seniors share characteristics that meet the standards of major scholarship winners – excellent grades, rigorous academic schedule, leadership experience and strong involvement in school and community activities.

Here’s a look at partial resumés for each:

white male high school senior with brown curly hairDavid Phillippe – No. 1 in his class academically, president of the National Honor Society at South Lenoir, chief marshal at the 2022 graduation, past president (and current member) of South Lenoir’s Student Council Association and its Technology Student Association chapter, middle school and high school math tutor through LCPS’s partnership with AmeriCorps, Eagle Scout and junior assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 41, member and former captain of South Lenoir’s cross country and track and field teams, founder of a clothes closet at school that gives students access to business-appropriate attire.

As a senior, David’s academic schedule consists of college-level classes through Lenoir Community College, where he’s a President’s List student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He expects to earn an associate of arts degree from LCC by the time he finishes high school.

David is also one of 19 seniors in the state selected to represent North Carolina in competition for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

18 year old African American male with glassesDerrian Wilson – Student representative on Kinston High’s School Improvement Team, member of the National Honor Society and Student Government Association, four-year member of the Vikings baseball team, Quill Writing Competition team member, AmeriCorps math tutor, Jabberwock participant.

Derrian’s course load this year consists of AP classes at KHS and college-level classes through LCC. He expects to earn more than 30 college credits this school year and enter college as a sophomore. Outside of school, he’s a long-time employee at Bojangles.

white female high school senior with dark brown hairCourtney Humphrey – President of North Lenoir’s DECA chapter, National Honor Society and SCA, member of the varsity volleyball and soccer teams, founder of Court Does Knots, a crocheting business that last year helped earn her a first-place win at the state DECA conference and a trip to compete at DECA’s international conference in Atlanta.

Courtney has run the table on the 10 or so AP classes offered at North Lenoir and has been taking college-level classes through LCC since she was a sophomore, focusing on business courses.

white female high school senior with blonde hairClaire Hollingsworth – No. 1 in her class academically, chief marshal at the 2022 graduation, member of the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and Student Government Association, Junior Leadership Lenoir participant, North Lenoir and competition team cheerleader and winner of the Most Spirited Cheerleader award, member of the soccer team.

Claire’s senior-year academic schedule is heavy with AP and LCC college-level courses and she expects to have about a year’s worth of college credits completed by the time she graduates high school. Away from school, Claire is an active volunteer for a wide range of community organizations, from United Way to the La Grange Harvest Festival. She also works an after-school job at Pizza Villa.

18 year old African American femaleHadiyah Whitfield – Student representative to Kinston High’s School Improvement Team, member of the Honor Society and Anchor Club, Science Olympiad competitor, AmeriCorps tutor, four-year trainer with the Viking football team, member of the indoor and outdoor track teams, semi-finalist for the Levine Scholarship at UNC-Charlotte.

Hadiyah is involved with AP courses and college-level courses through LCC. After school, she volunteers as a tutor and STEM facilitator for young residents of the Jack Rountree Apartment Complex. She is also a co-founder of a clothes pantry at Jack Rountree.

UNC awards about 75 Morehead-Cain scholarships each year. The scholarship is valued at about $80,000 for in-state students, that covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study and offers summer enrichment programs. About 160 applicants are named finalists.

The Park Scholarship is valued at $116,000 for in-state students, covering all expenses as well as providing a host of personal and professional development opportunities. About 40 scholarship are awarded, chosen from about 112 finalists.