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The Falcon

The Student News Site of The Kinkaid School

The Falcon

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Mani awarded prestigious Coca-Cola scholarship

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Eshaan Mani
As a Coca-Cola Scholar, senior Eshaan Mani was invited to Atlanta to participate in a weekend-long celebration and leadership development program. Mani poses wearing his Coca-Cola lanyard by the welcome sign in the Hilton Atlanta Airport, which was the main site of the weekend. “Most of the leadership development, games, and team building activities were held in the ballroom of the Hilton,” Mani said. “The only events outside the hotel were the opening banquet at the Georgia International Convention Center, a tour of the Center for Civil Rights and World of Coca-Cola and the final party at Coke headquarters.”

Senior Eshaan Mani has made Kinkaid history by becoming one of a select number of Falcons to be a Coca-Cola Scholar.

“I’m still in disbelief about it,” Mani said. “It’s so selective that I never even let myself think about it. I’m incredibly grateful.”

This year, 103,800 high school seniors applied for the prestigious Coca-Cola Scholarship, which awards merit scholarships to students who are “dedicated to leadership, service, and action that positively affects others,” according to a statement on the scholarship’s website. 

Only 150 students were chosen to receive the $20,000 college scholarship and invitation to the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend, a 0.16% acceptance rate.

“I was shocked when I heard the news. I made Eshaan reread the acceptance letter twice just to be sure. It was such a proud moment,” said Mr. Arun Mani, Eshaan’s dad.

Mani’s teachers shared in the sentiment. 

“I was ecstatic with joy for his accomplishment,” journalism and yearbook teacher Dr. Kimetris Baltrip said. “Knowing how few high schoolers gain this prestigious scholarship is a testament to Eshaan’s hard work. It was an award well earned.”

Mani was also one of the few Scholars selected to participate in a drone drop as part of a special reveal video to be premiered at the Scholars Weekend. Coca-Cola sent a film crew to Kinkaid, led by former Coca-Cola scholar Mr. David Groom, who set up multiple drones in the quad on the morning of March 3. 

Mani, along with Upper School teachers Dr. Kimetris Baltrip and Ms. Christa Forster, as well as Upper School deans Mr. John Friday and Ms. Quenby Mott, participated in the video. 

“That drone drop really got me excited for Coke weekend, and it was the moment I realized, ‘Oh my God, I’m a Coke Scholar,’” Mani said.

The Scholars Weekend took place over three days in Atlanta, Georgia. The Weekend kicked off with a banquet, where each scholar made a grand entrance. During the event, scholars had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Ms. Carla Harris, a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley.

“She talked about the power of harnessing empathy and being authentic, which were the two takeaways that I really treasured from that, along with her dynamism, ” Mani shared.

Throughout the event, scholars had the opportunity to hear from Coke executives, corporate sponsors, and alumni of the scholars program.

“At the banquet, I was at a table with several partners from Bain, who sponsored the table, as well as Coca-Cola’s global head of recruitment and the former head of Coke’s Latin American presence, and learned from them about all the cool ways Coke is making a difference in markets across the globe,” Mani said. 

Mani and his fellow Scholars participated in the Leadership Development Institute, or LDI, a series of workshops and activities to hone their leadership skills. 

“We talked about self-awareness and our core values in life on the first day and crafted a vision statement, talked about empathy and inspiration on day two, and service on day three,” Mani said. “I’m saving the packet we got from the weekend for sure.”

Equally if not more impactful than the LDI, Mani said, was networking with other 2024 Coca-Cola Scholars.

“It was a great experience to speak with like-minded peers and hear different perspectives,” he said. “We all learned from each other, and I made a lot of new friends in the cohort. It’s truly a warm, kind family.”

The weekend concluded with a private tour of and party at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in downtown Atlanta. 

“There were Coca-Cola branded cupcakes, photo booths, and great food and music,” Mani said.

As a Coca-Cola Scholar, Mani has been granted access to a network of thousands of alumni through a social network called ‘Coke Scholars Connect.’ Members of the network include former 2024 presidential candidate Mr. Vivek Ramaswamy and Boston mayor Ms. Michelle Wu. 

Additionally, he will be invited to all Coca-Cola Scholars conventions, which happen on a five-year basis, and is able to access personalized mentorship programs.

“All these opportunities are super exciting, and this weekend as a whole was so amazing,” Mani said. “I’m so humbled and honored to be a part of the Coca-Cola family.”

Mani will apply his $20,000 scholarship to his undergraduate studies at Harvard University.

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About the Contributors
Shaivi Moparthi, Staff Writer
Eshaan Mani
Eshaan Mani, Editor-in-Chief
Eshaan Mani serves as the editor-in-chief of The Falcon. This is his fourth year on staff. When not 'journalizing,' Eshaan is championing World Update Club and South Asian Heritage Club, managing his wellness website WellBase, shooting or watching films, listening to Bollywood music, spending time with friends on campus, or playing an Indian drum called the dhol. 

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