Dustin Walker receives Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship.
Many may remember the name Jack Kent Cooke from his days when he owned the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Redskins.
A very successful man, Cooke was an avid promoter of education as a life long pursuit. Although his dreams of attaining a higher education were put on hold by his need to work full time during the depression, education was always something he believed in strongly.
So strongly, in fact, that at the time of his death in 1997, he left most of his fortune to establish the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which finds low income, high achieving students in Jr. High School, and works with them to enhance their learning. This is called the Young Scholar Program.
The selection process is very difficult to get into the program, and it has been called the “Nobel Prize for seventh graders.”
For those top students, up to $30,000 each year is available to them during high school to pursue educational experiences, and a college scholarship is also available should students make the grade. This is garnered by another application the student submits in the twelfth grade.
“We work closely with the students throughout the program, they’re paired with an educational advisor, and together they put together an individualized learning program each year, and that specifies growth opportunities and activities that the student should participate in each year,” said Foundation Spokesperson Vance Lancaster.
This year, Santa Clarita student Dustin Walker was one of the recipients of the college scholarship. Dustin first applied to be a Young Scholar after scoring highly on the SATs when he was in the sixth grade.
Through High School, Dustin was given a host of opportunities through the program that included studying German language and literature abroad, and working in Washington DC under the appointment of former US House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation paid for all of his experiences, and also bought him a new trumpet and paid for lessons.
Dustin will use the scholarship to attend the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he will study International Politics in a school that boasts such faculty as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former CIA Director George Tenet.
“Because of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, my family will not have to pay the outrageous costs of college tuition that exist in this country today, and considering I have five siblings following me, this will mean the world to my family,” Dustin said.
Dustin, along with the other scholarship recipients this year, represents the second class that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has sent to college.