Newark Charter School senior Megan Chen was named a 2021 Coca Cola Scholar and received a $20,000 scholarship. Chen, one of 150 students selected from 99,403 applicants from across the country, was selected for her leadership, academics, and community service.

Chen was previously named a distinguished finalist for the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award for founding the non-profit Urban Garden Initiative, which has taught more than 500 people how to create container gardens and other urban farming techniques. The non-profit now boasts over 40 chapters nationally and internationally with branches in Zimbabwe, the Philippines and India.

Along with the prize money, the award gives Chen access to an extensive alumni network of Coke scholars. The organization has its own coaching program, where alumni teach recent award winners how to navigate the pitfalls of college. Every five years, alumni are invited to an annual leadership summit.

“We believe that identifying these young leaders throughout the country and encouraging their passion for serving others not only empowers the students, but also lifts up those around them.” Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the foundation, said in a prepared statement. 

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