Two Wakefield High School Seniors are semifinalists in the Coca-Cola Scholars program, an annual scholarship competition.
Luwam Berhane and Andre Razzuri have been selected from among 100,000 applicants to be among the 250 finalists in the contest.
"It feels really good," Berhane said. "I was really excited to see the letter about it."
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has awarded nearly $23 million to more than 2,750 students since 1989. It awards $20,000 to 50 national scholars and $4,000 to 200 regional scholars from across the country each year. If they reach the final round, Berhane and Razzuri will travel to Atlanta, where they will be interviewed by Foundation staff. Berhane said she hopes to study the arts and humanities in college. Razzuri, recently accepted to Drexel University's film and video program, said he plans to purse a career in the field after college.
"I've been working with video ever since I took a class in it at Gunston Middle School," he said. "It's something I've always been interested in."
The two had to write essays for the competition. Berhane wrote hers on an Indian wedding ceremony she witnessed not long ago. Razzuri wrote one about his father.
"My dad is from Peru," he said. "I talked about his situation after coming here, how he moved up and how he worked to succeed."
THE FINALISTS will be honored at a banquet during their stay in Atlanta before attending seminars and touring local landmarks like CNN's studios and Coca-Cola's headquarters. According to Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman Laura Neff-Henderson, Berhane maintains a 4.3 grade point average. Razzuri has a 2.92 average. He is also part of Wakefield's wrestling team and an intern in the Arlington Career Center's Television and Multi-Media Production Department. Berhane plays junior varsity softball and basketball. Among her many other extracurricular activities, she serves on the Model United Nations and the Math Team. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.
“We are really proud of Luwam and Andre and are thrilled that they are being recognized," said the school’s career education specialist Jane Vandell. "They are both very deserving students.”