Student first in county to receive national scholarship

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)–This college bound grad is proving you don’t have to wait until you’re older to start making a difference.

“I hope I can find a way to inspire others to take on service, to try it out, and to see how they can really love it,” said Banan Garada, Coca-Cola Scholarship recipient.

Out of 99,403 applicants across the country, Banan Garada was one of 150 high school seniors chosen to get a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation says she is the first person in Champaign County to receive the scholarship.

“It’s exciting for Champaign-Urbana to have a local scholar like this, especially a young female scholar to see what she’s doing within the community,” said Stephanie Seay with Heartland Coca-Cola.

Garada has a lot of accomplishments. She’s co-chair of FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council and leading a webinar series about how to stay safe during the pandemic. Last year, she wrote a book about the pandemic through a child’s eyes. For Garada, it’s not about the accolades, it’s about changing the people and world around her.

“We need service, and we need people who put humanity first. Serve humanity to improve humanity,” said Garada.

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