Joe Booth, a 2013 graduate from the University of North Georgia's Oconee Campus, has been selected as a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. His selection was based on scores he earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition, for which more than 1,700 applications were received this year.
"Joe has been an outstanding student at our institution," said Dr. Al Panu, senior vice president for university affairs. "He is a single father of two small boys, and works as a math tutor while also holding a job at a restaurant. With all of these responsibilities, he still managed to be at the top of his class with a very rigorous academic schedule."
Booth, also a graduate of Dacula High School, is currently at the University of Georgia studying geology, and is planning on enrolling in graduate school after earning his bachelor's degree. Booth previously attempted to earn a college degree before earning his associate's degree from UNG, but struggled during his first experience.
"I enjoy speaking with younger students; I recently spoke with seniors from Madison High School about what it takes to succeed in college," Booth said. "I wasn't prepared my first time as a college student, so I tell other students about the pitfalls I experienced and how I changed my approach for my second college experience. I also tell them what it's like being a non-traditional versus a traditional student."
Booth has been involved in fundraising activities for breast cancer research and is hoping one day to be able to aid in the cure. He also became involved in the Upper Oconee Watershed Network as a project for his Environmental Studies class, and continues to provide help in the organization's efforts to educate citizens of the Athens area about the importance of clean water.
"He exemplifies the kind of student for which this recognition was designed to highlight," Panu said. "We are extremely proud of his accomplishments, and are very happy that Joe chose to re-start his education with UNG."
The program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, for which Booth served as president on UNG's Oconee Campus. UNG will pay for Booth to attend the national award event, to be held in Orlando, Fla. April 24-26, where he will be accompanied by Panu.
"I was so ecstatic to hear about this award, especially because I am a non-traditional student and past eligibility for the HOPE scholarship," Booth said. "It will be of great help."
The scholars will be recognized on stage during the Second General Session of the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention on Friday, April 25th. Additionally, they will be recognized at a special reception for Phi Theta Kappa Scholars that same day.
Silver scholars receive a silver medallion and a check for $1,250. Funding for the scholarship is provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Throughout the spring, 38 states host All-State Academic Team Recognition ceremonies, where Coca-Cola Silver Scholars are recognized. To be eligible, scholars must:
- Be nominated by the college's designated nominator
- Demonstrate outstanding academic achievement
- Demonstrate significant campus and/or community leadership and service
Each year, 50 gold, silver, and bronze scholars are selected. All receive medallions; gold scholars are awarded $1,500, silver scholars receive $1,250, and bronze scholars are awarded $1,000.