Jayelen Knowles, a recent Grand County High School graduate, is one of 10 scholars selected from more than 5,500 applicants across the nation for the award. Each Samsung American Legion National Scholar receives a $20,000 scholarship for undergraduate expenses and the opportunity to be honored for their accomplishments in Washington, D.C., according to a news release from the organization.
Administered by the American Legion since 1996, the scholarship fund is endowed by electronics corporation Samsung in appreciation of U.S. veterans, with emphasis on the families of those who served during the Korean War. The scholarship recipients must be a direct descendant of a war-time veteran. Knowles’ grandfather is a veteran of the Korean War.
To become a Samsung American Legion National Scholar, applicants must first be selected as the state finalist from their respective American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program. From the 99 state finalists, the top 10 applicants are selected by The American Legion Committee on Youth Education.
“These exceptional students distinguished themselves through their academic accomplishments and dedication to service in their communities,” officials said in the news release.
While in Washington, D.C., Knowles visited the Armed Forces Retirement Home to participate in a service project with Operation Comfort Warriors. Sponsored by the American Legion, Operation Comfort Warriors distributes care packages and provides recreational opportunities to military personnel and veterans recovering from wounds and illnesses at medical facilities and transition units around the country.
With the help of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship, Knowles said she plans to attend the United States Naval Academy in the fall to pursue a degree in biology.