Olivia Pizzella, a senior at Coughlin High School, has been selected as a semi-finalist for the 2019 Coca Cola Scholars Program. Olivia was chosen from among more than 97,000 applicants nationwide due to her outstanding leadership, academics, and dedication to the community.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. Those selected to be Coca-Cola Scholars receive a $20,000 scholarship to be used at the colleges of their choice. Additionally, winners attend Scholars Weekend in Atlanta April 4-7, 2019, with travel, housing, meals, and other logistics provided by the Foundation.
The Coca-Cola Scholars application was very intense. "Upon the recommendation of a teacher, I filled out the online application over the summer," said Pizzella. "I remember it was very lengthy and required a lot of information about what activities I have been involved in both in and out of the classroom. They also were very specific about describing what I plan to accomplish in life. I kind of thought it was a long shot and just forgot about it. I was shocked when I received the email that I made it to semi-finals," said Pizzella. "The second phase of the application was very cumbersome. I was required to provide details of my school and community activities, specifically focusing on how I help my school and community become a better place."
Pizzella's academic accomplishments are top notch, excelling in Advanced Placement coursework and rising to the top of her class. Her resume impresses with years of service and commitment to Coughlin High School and organizations throughout Luzerne County. Pizzella is active and holds leadership roles in over 20 organizations. Her accolades include National Honor Society, Greater Wyoming Valley Council on Youth Leadership -- Youth Salute, National Academy of Future Physicians Award of Excellence, Future Medical Leaders of America at Harvard University, Discover Swarthmore High Achieving High School Juniors Scholarship, and National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine at George Mason University. Her cummunity involvement includes Junior Leadership Wilkes-Barre, Slovak Catholic Sokols -- Assembly 59, Young Scholars at Wilkes and Kings, Valley Santa, Salvation Army Bell Ringer, and Volunteer at the SPCA.
As a Crusader, Olivia has been a member of the softball and field hockey teams, along with Diversity Club, Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Spanish Club, Yearbook, and The Journal.
Pizzella awaits results as she completed phase two of the application, which consisted of 18 essays describing the impact being involved in school and community has had on her life. She was required to provide the Foundation with additional details about her leadership, service, involvement, and work, including roles held and statements of impact. Olivia was also required to have one academic reference and one community reference, along with a reference from a school administrator. Olivia's academic transcript and school profile were also submitted.
Once the Semi-finalist applications are reviewed, 250 Regional Finalists will be chosen to continue through the selection process. Notifications of the committee's decision will be delivered by late January, 2019. The 250 Regional Finalists will then participate in interviews either in person or via web conference, resulting in the selection of 150 Coca-Cola Scholars. These interviews will take place February 8,9,15,16, depending on the location of the Regional Finalists. Winners will attend a weekend in Atlanta, Georgia in April where they will receive their $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholars Award.
Olivia, a resident of Plains, is the daughter of Dr. Renee Pizzella. She is the grandaughter of Nancy Fedor, as well as Frank J. Pizzella, Jr. and Carolyn Pizzella, all of Plains. Olivia plans to attend college in the fall, majoring in Neuroscience. She hopes to attend medical school to train as an anesthesiologist.
The Crusader Family extends best wishes to Olivia as she advances to the next round.