AHS Senior Named Coca-Cola Scholar

James Sykes, a senior at Affton High School, has been selected as a member of the 2014-2015 class of Coca-Cola Scholars. As one of 150 high school seniors selected nationwide, Sykes will receive a $20,000 scholarship for four years of study at the accredited U.S. college or university of his choice.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors each year. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, and their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.

“James exhibits all of the qualities that contribute to academic success: natural intelligence, determination, and limitless intellectual curiosity,” said Dan Polokonis, math teacher at Affton High School. “What sets him apart, though, what truly makes him a leader, is his absolute selflessness, his willingness to donate all of his time and talent to help a good cause.”

Throughout his time at Affton, Sykes has served as a class officer, president of Key Club, president of Arts and Sports Club, competitor in DECA and HOSA, varsity wrestling captain, a member of the varsity football and track teams, as well as Mathletes and TREND. Skyes has also helped establish the Boley Fund, created to benefit two-year-old Thomas Boley, son of Chris Boley, math teacher at Affton High School, who has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS). While he is still determining where he will be attending college, he plans to study either pre-­medicine or biological research.

Sykes is one of three students in Missouri, and the only student in the St. Louis area, named to the 2104-2015 class of Coca-Cola Scholars. In April, Sykes will attend the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta where he will participate in their Leadership Development Institute, Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet, and a group service project.

“What makes James special is his fierce determination to succeed.  I have never met a student for whom the mantra, ‘Failure is not an option,’ is more appropriate,” adds Brian Jennings, English language arts teacher. “This is true of the smallest of tasks to the most challenging.  James has only one way of thinking, learning, and living, and that’s full throttle.”

For more than a quarter of a century, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has been a premier provider of scholarships to young people across the nation who are helping shape a better future through civic engagement, community service and enlightened leadership. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation was established in 1986 and supports over 1,400 college students each year, with annual scholarships of $3.4 million through two nationally recognized programs on behalf of the Coca-Cola System.

For more information and a full list of 2014-2015 Coca-Cola Scholars, please visit http://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/.