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EdX recently announced the 2016 Cooke edX Challenge where scholarship-eligible seventh grade students are given the opportunity to successfully complete a selected edX course to get a leg up in the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program. Last year, we proudly announced that out of the 2,000 applications submitted, with only 70 scholarships awarded, 10 edX learners were given the honor of becoming a Cooke Young Scholar.

Samuel Park was one of the edX learners that successfully completed this challenge and was named a Cooke Young Scholar. Learn how his experience with edX helped shape his educational future and opened his eyes to the benefits of accessible online learning.

More information on the 2016 Cooke edX Challenge can be found here.

Congratulations to Samuel and we look forward to sharing more Cooke edX Challenge learner stories in the future.

Samuel Park

""Age 13 | Charlotte, NC

This summer marked two very important events for me, especially for my education throughout the next five years. I was humbled to be selected as a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholar, and through the Foundation, I also discovered edX.

For the Cooke edX Challenge, I found the Programming in Scratch course and I knew it was right for me. I had a short introduction to the Scratch programming language previously, and I wanted to study it deeper, not just for my own learning, but to be able to teach other kids.

Although I was apprehensive about taking a college level course in the beginning, I found the course to be very detailed and comprehensive, with optional materials for extra practice, all packaged in a fun, engaging, and easy way to learn.

""By taking the Scratch course, I was able not only to learn the skills to code in Scratch, but also to experience a global classroom of virtual learners. I taught my younger brother to code in Scratch, and he finds it easy to code his own programs in Scratch now. As I got more confident in teaching coding in Scratch, I was able to teach a workshop to youth at my local public library. I am planning to teach more workshops in communities around the U.S., and in other countries.

I loved the Scratch course so much, and decided to take more courses from edX. I have taken and completed the Introduction to Environmental Science, which has helped me tremendously in my high school credit class at school, English Grammar and Style, and I am currently working on Learn Spanish: Basic Spanish for English Speakers and Introduction to Algebra.

EdX courses also inspired me to push the boundaries of digital education. For the last four years, I have been working on a service project named 1KL. 1KL stands for: One Kids Library, One Kindle Library, and One Kilo Library. Through 1KL, I send e-readers loaded with e-books to kids in need of education around the world. We deliver to schools and orphanages in several countries in Africa, South and Central America, as well as schools in the U.S. As I took the edX courses, I was astonished by how much one can learn from the high-quality, free edX courses from these prestigious schools.

EdX can open doors for anyone who wants to learn, with basic access to the Internet.

Through 1KL, I can provide access to top-level college courses to kids that thirst for education and are willing to learn so much, if given the opportunity. My dream is to reach a million youth around the world with resources to read and learn (basic literacy) and share with them the advanced learning opportunities edX courses provide.

In continuing my own education, I am most interested in studying computer programming/software development, statistics/big data, and human psychology/the subconscious mind.

If you are considering taking an edX course, I would say go for it!

Even though it may be a bit intimidating to learn at the college level, the comprehensive and step-by-step instruction of edX courses and your interest to learn can make for a great learning experience.

From edX courses, not only did I learn the skills of that course, but I was also able to experience collaboration and peer grading with other edX learners around the world, and see how I can apply what I learned in the real world.

I am so grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and edX for opening these doors of opportunity to broaden my horizons, not just for myself, but to help other kids around the world. As the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation teaches, through edX, I can “Think Big, Work Hard, and Achieve.”

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