Hispanic girl wearing brown plaid shirt

Early College High School (ECHS) senior Carla Andazola Villela was selected as one of 60 graduating high school students to receive the Cooke College Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Carla will receive up to $55,000 annually to cover costs associated with her undergraduate education.

The Cooke College Scholarship Program seeks to help high-achieving students with financial need earn a college degree. In addition to substantial financial support, Scholars also receive ongoing academic coaching and advising, graduate school and career advising, and access to a network of thriving and motivated peers in the Cooke Scholar community. Scholars will also receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and access to graduate school funding.

“Carla is one of the most intelligent, determined, hard-working students that I have known in my 20+ years in education,” ECHS Principal Amanda Hortman said. “I am happy to know that someone like her will be in a position of leadership as I grow older.”

Ranked first in her class the past four years, Carla is in line to walk the stage as class Valedictorian in May. While still deciding which college to attend, she knows she will begin her Engineering studies in the fall.

At ECHS, Carla has been involved in numerous student activities and honor societies, including the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, National English Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Student Government, Peer Assisted Learning, Junior Achievement, and The Parliament. She was also a Flag Core and G.I.V.E. member.

"I'm truly grateful for this opportunity and the support system that allowed me to get here,” Carla said. “I'm thankful for the immense help I have received, and I wish to pay it forward to others in the future."

In addition to the Cooke College Scholarship, Carla has earned a $20,000 Dell Foundation Scholarship and a $3,200 National Honor Society Scholarship.

Carla competed against students from all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands, for the Cooke College Scholarship. The Foundation selected Scholars based on their academic ability, persistence, leadership, and financial need.

A full list of the 2023 Cooke College Scholars, including the high schools and states they represent, can be found here.

For more information, contact Jennifer Hines at Jennifer.Hines@TylerISD.org.