Matthew Krasnow, a student at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, is one of only 150 students across the entire country to receive the scholarship and was picked out of more than 91,000 applicants, according to the Bedford Central School District.
Krasnow was picked based on criteria such as academic excellence, leadership skills, and services in both school and community activities, school officials said. As part of the application process, he also interviewed with a committee of scholar alumni and staff, a process that Krasnow called "pretty nerve-wracking."
"I was so relieved when I received it. Beyond relief, I was proud," Krasnow said, adding, "I looked at the scholar bios from last year and was in awe of some of the most accomplished high school seniors in the US."
In addition to the $20,000 scholarship, Krasnow will also join a network of alumni connections and go on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to take part in the 35th annual Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet and the Leadership Development Institute. There, he will meet the other Coca-Cola scholars, alumni, and program sponsors, Krasnow said.
Krasnow attributed his belief in himself as the reason he was selected for the prestigious scholarship.
"I never let myself be intimidated by schoolwork or a rigorous course load," he said, adding, "I had faith that I would learn to study more, study more efficiently and balance extracurriculars with school. With confidence in my capabilities, I consistently improved academically throughout high school."
In addition to his studies, Krasnow also co-captains his school's track team, serves as a member of the Fox Lane First Responders Club, and even serves as an emergency medical technician and firefighter with the Bedford Fire Department.
Krasnow also published a medical research paper with New York Medical College in pediatric endocrinology and served as the paper's lead author.
Jennifer Hickey, Krasnow's school counselor, said she was not surprised that he was selected for the scholarship.
"Matt is a top student, researcher, firefighter, and three-season athlete. He does it all and is never daunted by a challenge – in fact he thrives on them," she said.
"He will be a leader at any college or university lucky enough to have him. I am certain of one thing: Matt Krasnow will change the world one day," Hickey continued.
Although he is not yet sure what school he will be attending, Krasnow plans to use the funds to study biochemistry and computer science. He also wants to continue his medical research and work as an EMT, he added.
Krasnow also gave advice to fellow students.
"It is very easy to get caught in the mindset of 'doing things for college,' so try to focus on your real interests," he said, adding, "When you enjoy what you do, it doesn't feel like work. Also, take time to relax. You do your best work when you're happy."
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