Rowan College of South Jersey Students Named Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars

2019 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars Candice Giunta, of Williamstown, and Paige Starr, of Franklinville. Photo credit: RCSJ

By: Follow Local News Staff

SEWELL, N.J. — Two Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) were awarded the 2019 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship, an award based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential recently.

Candice Giunta of Williamstown and Paige Starr of Franklinville serve as chapter president and executive vice president, respectively, of RCSJ’s Alpha Psi Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges. Giunta and Starr each received a $1,000 scholarship to aid with college expenses.

“My experience in PTK has taught me a great amount. I have learned to work with various people, as well as become more than just a member of the team; I have learned to lead,” Giunta said.

Giunta is a wife and mother of three who juggles being involved in her church, mentoring individuals recovering from drug dependency and participating in PTK and other community activities, all while maintaining a 3.88 grade point average (GPA). 

“This experience has brought me an abundance of newly found skills within myself such as soft skills, public speaking and time management. The road has not been easy for me, but it has taught me so much in such a short period of time and has molded me into a better version of myself in which I cannot be more proud,” she added

Starr, the recipient of four RCSJ scholarships, echoes Giunta’s sentiments, finding the challenges of being a leader an experience that is well worth the effort. With a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education at Rowan University, Starr is motivated by the opportunity to bring about positive change as a leader and as a teacher.  

“To be seen as a leader from such an established platform gives me a sense of pride I never knew I could feel for myself,” Starr admitted. “Within this past year specifically, I have worked harder than ever before in my classes to not only be successful on paper, but to also have complete understanding of the content I am receiving, to be able to be the best possible teacher I can be at the end of my collegiate journey. Receiving this award means that all of my hard work has been recognized, and that I have yet again been challenged to continue to be a leader both academically and socially.”

Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Shawn Rutter expressed delight in the students’ award.

“I am very proud of both students for being awarded this scholarship opportunity. Candice and Paige demonstrate great leadership ability and possess the determination, passion and commitment necessary to achieve any goal they desire,” Rutter said. “The Alpha Psi Pi chapter and the College commend them both for their academic excellence as members of Phi Theta Kappa and recipients of this scholarship.”

Nearly 900 applications for the scholarship were received by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, with 207 students selected. 

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