Evanston resident and Oakton Community College student Shaked Gafni has been named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. Submitted photo

Oakton Community College student Shaked Gafni of Evanston is one of more than 200 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) members named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. He will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in PTK programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential. Nearly 700 applications were received.

The 23-year old, who immigrated to the United States from Israel a year ago, plans to pursue his nursing requisites when he returns to Oakton this fall.

“I was very proud to be recognized for my academic achievements,” said Mr. Gafni, who currently boasts a 4.0 GPA. “I couldn’t have accomplished this without the support of my family. All along, they have encouraged me on my educational path and have motivated me to succeed.”

A total of $207,000 is awarded through the Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, said. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” Monica Marlowe, Ph.D., executive director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, said. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”

And this scholarship will go a long way for Mr. Gafni, who plans on transferring to a four-college after Oakton to work toward a career as a nurse practitioner.

“Oakton has one of the leading nursing programs in the state,” he said. “I’m glad to be gaining the hands-on skills and knowledge I need to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges helping them grow as scholars and leaders. PTK is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members.