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Three Chatham county high school seniors named Morehead scholarship semifinalists

Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005

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Three Chatham County students are among 240 North Carolina high school seniors selected as semifinalists for 2005 Morehead scholarships to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The semifinalists include William Ryan Hobbs of Siler City, from Jordan Matthews High School; Natalie Marie Phillips of Bear Creek, from Chatham Central High School; and Abigail Susan Wilson of Pittsboro, from Northwood High School.

Among the largest and most competitive scholarship programs in the United States, the Morehead pays all expenses for four years of undergraduate study, including the costs of a laptop computer and four summer enrichment experiences. The value of the Morehead is approximately $80,000 for each in-state student and $140,000 for each out-of-state student.

The semifinalists, announced by trustees of the John Motley Morehead Foundation, were chosen from among 1,362 students nominated by their high schools in October.

"This was the largest and most competitive field of candidates to date," said Charles Lovelace, executive director of the Morehead Foundation. "We have an extremely impressive group of Morehead semifinalists this year."

The semifinalists will interview before 11 Morehead regional selection committees in January in their home regions. Those committees will select approximately 60 finalists, who will interview with the Morehead central selection committee in Chapel Hill on March 7 and 8.

The 60 N.C. finalists will compete with approximately 55 finalists nationwide and in Great Britain. Morehead recipients will be announced March 11.

Instituted as the first non-athletic merit scholarship program in the country, the Morehead has evolved into an experiential learning program with lifelong expectations.

"The Morehead provides young leaders with the tools to create an extraordinary life," Lovelace said. "They receive a top-notch education at a leading university, a network of 180 enterprising peers and 2,500 accomplished alumni mentors, international travel and internships and a lifelong challenge to do more good for the world around them than they do for themselves."

The extensive summer enrichment program provides global hands-on leadership and problem-solving experiences in four areas: outdoor leadership, public service, enterprise and international research. The scholars are expected to make significant contributions to the university community in their areas of talent and interest and to continue to contribute to their communities as Morehead alumni.

The selection process began in October, when some of the nation's brightest young leaders were nominated for excellence in academic achievement, leadership, moral force of character and physical vigor. Recipients are chosen by merit and achievement, not financial need.

The late John Motley Morehead III, an 1891 UNC graduate, began the Morehead program in 1951. More than 2,500 scholars have attended Carolina; 180 now study on campus.

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