A former NFL coach, a status-quo-crushing teacher and Miss America 2018 walk into a room and strike up a conversation.
No, it’s not the beginning of a joke.
The summit celebrates the scholarship’s mission to provide financial support for college-bound students and to foster an inclusive community that inspires social change.
Of the 6,000 scholarship recipients in the past 30 years, more than 400 came together in Atlanta recently to learn from each other and outside speakers.
Here are a few of the stories shared during the Sept. 27-30 event:
Adan Gonzalez, Puede Network Founder, 2011
Katori Hall, Award-Winning Playwright, 1999
For her work, she became the first African American woman to win the Laurence Oliver Award for Best New Play. With many additional writings and accolades now under her belt, she shared the power of storytelling with her fellow-Coca-Cola Scholars.
Daron K. Roberts, Former NFL Coach, Educator and Author, 1997
A Harvard law-school graduate turned NFL coach, Roberts is above all a motivator. The founding director for the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas, he develops leadership and character curricula for student and professional athletes, helping build vulnerability and empathy. He shares the story of his own journey in his book – Call an Audible: Let my Pivot from Harvard Law to NFL Coach Inspire Your Transition – and also hosts the podcast “A Tribe Called Yes.”
Cara Mund, 2018 Miss America, 2012
As Miss America, Mund traveled an average of 20,000 miles a month, changing location nearly every two days, as she advocated women’s empowerment, education and community service. With her fellow Scholars, she shared her joys of being crowned Miss America but also her struggles to maintain her own voice while serving that role.
Michael Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, Calif., 2008
As a Stanford University student with a White House internship, Tubbs’ received a life-changing call. His cousin had been murdered in Stockton – the same town where Tubbs had been born to a teenage mom and an incarcerated dad; the same town that had averaged more murders per capita than Chicago or Afghanistan.
Wanting a different future for his hometown, while still in college, Tubbs ran to represent Stockton’s 6th District. He won, becoming one of the youngest City Councilmembers in the country. In 2016, Tubbs was elected to serve as Mayor of Stockton. He has since secured $20,000,000 to launch Stockton Scholars – a program that aims to triple the number of local students entering and graduating from Stockton – and launched the nation’s first ever municipal level basic income pilot.
Amy Purdy, Paralympian
Purdy grew up an active snowboarder. Losing both legs below the knee to Bacterial Meningitis at age 19 didn’t change that. Now a Paralympic medalist, having competed in the 2014 Sochi games and the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games, Purdy is not only an athlete but a motivational speaker. As she told