Jordan-Matthews senior Evelin Muñoz Tebalan named Cooke College Scholarship winner

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SILER CITY — After being named a semifinalist in February, Jordan-Matthews senior Evelin Muñoz Tebalan has made the final cut as one of 100 students nationwide to receive the prestigious Cooke College Scholarship.

Awarded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Cooke College Scholarship seeks to enable high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds to attend the nation’s top colleges and universities. On April 7, the foundation announced 100 finalists, each of whom will receive up to $55,000 annually for four years of college, along with guidance about selecting a college, navigating financial aid and maximizing the college student experience.

These finalists join an additional 49 Cooke Young Scholars selected in February to form the foundation’s largest cohort ever.

“Our country is full of bright and motivated students. We want to make sure those with financial need have the opportunity to succeed,” said Seppy Basili, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s executive director, in the April press release. “We admire the determination displayed by the finalists this year, and we’re extremely proud of these students’ achievements. We look forward to witnessing their future accomplishments.”

Among the cohort, Muñoz Tebalan was the only student from Chatham County, and one of just six finalists from North Carolina. The foundation had originally selected her as one of 411 semifinalists nationwide out of more than 5,300 applicants across all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.

“This scholarship means so much more beyond the money it offers,” Muñoz Tebalan told the News + Record in February. “The funds itself mean that I’ll be set in paying for college, something that has been a prime concern of mine for years. It’s one of the reasons I’ve worked hard in each school assignment and activity. Even by joining AVID in 7th grade I’ve had my mind set on college for a long time.

“Further,” she added, “Jack Kent Cooke doesn’t stop at paying tuition, but also provides mentorship and guidance for its scholars. Winning this scholarship would enable me to academically and professionally excel without the worry of debt weighing me down.”

Reporter Victoria Johnson can be reached at victoria@chathamnr.com.

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