From Jet to Tar Heel

J-M’s Brady Andrew earns prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship


SILER CITY — In Brady Andrew’s home, learning is paramount. That’s evidenced by his mother being a former principal at Silk Hope School and his older sister a high-achieving college student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Now, lest there was any doubt, he can demonstrate he fits right in.

Two weeks ago, Brady was awarded UNC-Chapel Hill’s Morehead-Cain scholarship for the Class of 2027. The full-ride scholarship covers four years of tuition, summer programs, room and board at UNC. The application and selection process involved multiple rounds of interviews, campus visits and more.

In Brady’s words, “It’s an offer you can’t refuse.”

While he hasn’t officially committed to UNC, he says he’s “99.9% sure” he’ll be a Tar Heel when fall semester rolls around.

Lasting lineage

He knows how good the offer is, in part because his sister Lindley, a junior at UNC, is also a Morehead-Cain scholar. Brady says his sister’s advice throughout the application process was invaluable.

“Ever since she got the Morehead, I had always been like ‘Wow this is such a great opportunity,’” he said. “This scholarship just seemed like a dream.”

After seeing the opportunities the scholarship afforded his sister, Brady said he poured his heart into the application. He said it forced him to dig deep and be introspective.

At first, he thought it seemed unlikely the selection committee would choose two students from the same family to both receive the scholarship. Especially because, in his words, they look “very similar on paper.”

Both Andrew siblings participated in DECA  — which prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools — acted in shows through JMArts and were varsity athletes. While they’re both clearly well-rounded students Brady said he made an effort to differentiate himself from his sister in interviews, essays and campus visits.

“Though we may look similar and do similar things,” he said, “I wanted the Morehead Foundation to be aware that we are distinct individuals.”

Angie Brady-Andrew, the mother of Brady and Lindley, said both her children are leaders, but in different ways. Lindley is more of an outgoing and vibrant personality, while Brady prefers to speak softly and carry a big stick.

“His application was able to really hone in on his personal strengths,” Brady-Andrew said. “But just like she has in so many other ways as a big sister who loves her little brother, she mentored him through it.” 

The sibling love also brings the best out of Brady. He calls Lindley his “biggest inspiration.”

Leading role

But it took more than just the motivation of his sister to get Brady where he is today. He says it “took a village” of mentors, teachers and peers supporting him along the way.

“All three of my schools — Siler City Elementary, Chatham Middle and Jordan-Matthews — all really did something right,” he said. “I’m so thankful for all of my teachers because each of them did something for me that was beyond their job description that helped me get to this point now.”

One of those mentors was Rose Pate, president of JMArts. She said through his time in the theater program, she’s seen him break out of his shell and become a leader.

“As a freshman, he played the Mysterious Man in ‘Into the Woods,’” Pate said. “He was nervous and uncertain, but he really committed to the role.”

The commitment he showed paid off. As a senior, Brady is now cast as the leading role of Lord Farquaad in JMArts’ production of “Shrek the Musical.” Pate said rehearsals have proven her casting decision to be correct because his performances are “one of the highlights in the show.”

On and off stage, Pate said Brady is consistently willing to challenge himself. It’s that determination that makes him such a role model to his cast members, and peers throughout J-M.

“He doesn’t coast on his past successes,” Pate said. “He is always looking for an opportunity to step up, learn more and meet new challenges, which I think makes him special.”

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship comprises four major subject areas: scholarship, leadership, physical activity and character. Pate said Brady is the embodiment of all four categories. Usually, someone fits one or two of the categories better than others, but Brady matches all four.

“He’s kind of the guy that people look to in class to set the tone,” Pate said. “He is a real self-starter and he’s just a real delight to have in class because he’s so engaged in the learning process.”

As part of the application process, students are allowed one recommendation. Brady’s recommendation came from Pate — he chose her because she’s become like a “second parent” to him.  She said part of writing her recommendation involved talking to Brady’s teachers, coaches and church members.

Everyone, from all facets of his life, had glowing things to say, Pate said.

“He’s worked really hard,” Brady-Andrew said. “Him receiving this scholarship was just validation for all that he puts into everything he does and for him being such a good kid.”

Lifelong learner

From freshman year to now, Brady’s biggest area of growth has been communication. Nowadays, you can find him winning DECA competitions with confident business proposals or splitting the sides of audiences in his comedic theatrical performances.

That brimming confidence is evident for more than just the crowds; it also comes through in one-on-one conversations.

Brady said he believes strongly in continuing to build those interpersonal skills because of his big future goal: learning. He believes people learn the most from one another and by effectively communicating ideas. It’s one of the reasons he’s excited about engaging in the Morehead-Cain program.

“Any constraint on tuition or monetary constraint is lifted,” he said. “And so I’m excited to really dive into things I’m passionate about and build new passions along the way.”

While he isn’t quite sure what he’ll be studying at Carolina, Brady said he looks forward to exploring a variety of topics and experiences through the Morehead-Cain Scholarship.

Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at or on Twitter @b_rappaport.

Brady Andrew, Jordan-Matthews High School, Morehead Cain Scholarship, UNC-Chapel Hill


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