Newton High School senior Torri Cofield was just trying to find money for college when she threw her name in for the Horatio Alger Scholarship.
At most, she was hoping for $5,000.
But what she got was much more than that when she was awarded the prestigious scholarship.
What Cofield received was a $20,000 national scholarship, which also entitles her to a collegiate match of the same amount. Out of 33,809 applicants, Cofield was one of only 106 who received the scholarship.
An honor and dual enrollment student at the Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School, she holds a 3.9 GPA, is the captain of the Aries of Elegance Dance Team, vice president of the First Ladies of Newton, a member of DECA and the National Honor Society and volunteers at Liberty Middle School (where she tutors students and helps them learn discipline through dance) and Champions for Children daycare.
Cofield was given a five-day all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where she met Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the first female Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, actor Brad Pitt and many other special dignitaries who are members of the Horatio Alger association.
One her most memorable honors was being personally selected to be mentored by Dr. Robert L. Wright, Chairman and CEO of FE Holdings Inc., who serves on several Boards of Directors including Aflac and the Board of Trustees for Morehouse School of Medicine.
During the conference, Cofield was able to attend seminars and visit several memorials and monuments, as well as the Supreme Court and State Department. She was also given a laptop computer, an iPad donated by the association and $250 to be used toward any item she needs during her freshman year.
Cofield said that although she has received other scholarships, this one is “extra special,” and that she is “honored to be a Horatio Alger Scholar because this program is one that offers lifelong mentorship as well as an opportunity to become a member of this prestigious organization in the future as a means of giving back.”
She plans to attend Tennessee State University and major in biology with hopes of later entering Meharry Medical School of Dentistry.
“Torri is an all-around student,” said NHS Principal Craig Lockhart. “She is very intelligent, talented and focused. It is no surprise to me that she would receive the Horatio Alger National Scholarship. I am proud of her efforts and great work. She will go far in life.”