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Benson Selected as a Morehead-Cain Scholar

It’s that time of year again, for scholarships.  One of our students has surpassed the $1 million mark in scholarship offers.  Her story is below. 

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North High’s Bailey Benson has been selected as a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is the oldest merit-based and one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country, with fewer than four percent of candidates becoming members of the Class of 2023.  The purpose of the Morehead-Cain Foundation is to identify and invest in promising leaders, challenging them to have a profound impact on the people and pursuits that define their lives. The scholarship covers four years of tuition, housing, meals, books and supplies, a Macbook Pro, an annual travel/discovery fund, four summer experiences such as the International Gap Year before college, Study Abroad and other enrichment and networking opportunities.

Benson is in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at North.  Besides her rigorous IB courses, she is the lead intern and researcher in the Farm @ South Mountain Community College Aquaponics Case Study, and through the SMCC Junior ACE program, she earned a certificate in Entrepreneurship, focusing on the combined art of storytelling with business to create pitches and make complex ideas appealing to the general population.  She is the head of the Food Committee in the Arizona Science Center Teen Advisory  Board, authored a book to spread awareness of food insecurity in Phoenix, attended Yale Young Global Leaders-Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship, an  academic and leadership enrichment program.  She is currently an online student in an engineering outreach program at MIT. 

“Coming to North, it opened my eyes to the struggles that many families have, particularly with food insecurity.  Many of my classmates had never heard of zucchini, cauliflower or Romanesco, and those foods are not always available where they live.  I like to help people, and make them aware of what is outside their bubble.”

She is also doing that by building a website for Phoenix Union students to help them access extracurricular opportunities and experiences that can help them get to college and exploring careers, thus closing the “opportunity gap.”

Benson wants to major in economics or finance with a focus on sustainable systems and engineering.  She has taken six science classes in high school to prepare for engineering in college.  She hopes to become an investment banker to help struggling communities create self-sustainable economies.

Besides North Carolina, she has been accepted at Cornell and Emory College in Atlanta.  Harvard, Purdue, Georgetown, Washington, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt are also on her list of schools.  Benson’s high school career didn’t start out as promising.

“Coming from a Montessori background, I was not used to due dates, grades, or the rules in high school , and I started first semester with four B’s.  I had to devise a plan to not get any more B’s.  I became a teacher shadow, and focused on doing my best.  Being the best was my only option, and I never received another B.” 

Her grade point average is now a 4.9, ranked third in her senior class. Her new goal is to become a Rhodes Scholar.

“We are confident that Bailey will leave an enduring legacy at Carolina and beyond; we are thrilled to offer her this unique opportunity,” said Karman I. Kent, Director of Scholar Selection.

She is an amazing young woman and a future leader to watch, “North counselor Abigail Dolin said.

“We didn't know this type of opportunity existed before she was invited to apply. We are so grateful to you (counselor Dolin) and the North IB Program. Bailey's IB education made her a very strong applicant - especially coming from Arizona,” Bailey’s mother Maria Benson said.