This past year, we celebrated a milestone as we surpassed more than $25 million in scholarships given out since 2001. The students who receive them are identified by their high school guidance counselors or principals as top performers when it comes to academics, leadership, and service. Each spring, at ceremonies that take place throughout the country, our employees get to meet these promising young people, many who go on to achieve successes in college and throughout their careers. Below is a story about the path taken so far by one of our scholarship winners.
One of Sara Jo Walker’s favorite times of the year comes each spring, when dozens of select, talented high school seniors throughout middle Tennessee converge in Nashville to receive special recognition from Comcast NBCUniversal.
"To be in a room surrounded by these kids who we all know are going places is just so energizing," said Sara Jo, who oversees Comcast’s public relations efforts in the Nashville area.
Three years ago, Madison Tracy was one of those students, recognized by our company with a $1,000 scholarship. And during that year’s ceremony at the Tennessee State Capitol, she was awe-struck to learn right then and there that she was chosen to receive an additional $4,000 as a recipient of the Comcast Founders Scholarship, named in honor of company founder Ralph Roberts.
"I remembered when they called my name and I said, ‘What?’ My mouth dropped wide open," recalled Madison, who grew up in Murfreesboro, Tenn. "My parents were like, ‘Whoa!’ and they waved me to the front saying, ‘Go! Go!’ They were surprised, too."
Sara Jo explained that in Tennessee, Comcast makes it a tradition to surprise one of two winners of the two annual Comcast Founders Scholarships. "It’s so great to see how excited they get, and sometimes they are in shock," she said.
Sara Jo added that Madison stood out from other applicants with her 4.0 grade point average and long list of activities, including serving as student body president, captain of her varsity soccer team, and homecoming queen.
The extra financial support was not lost on Madison’s family. Her father, Jim Tracy, earlier this year shared his daughter’s successes to date as a student at Middle Tennessee State University.
"Much of Madison’s accomplishments and success would not have been possible without the generous scholarship she was awarded by Comcast," he emailed Comcast.
The $5,000 scholarship was the last piece of the puzzle for Madison. While she was attending a school not far from her home, she wanted the full collegiate experience. "I was so thankful. The scholarship meant that I could live on campus," she said. "That was extremely beneficial to me to make a lot of connections freshman year that helped me get involved ever since."
Madison’s success continues at college, where this fall she will start her senior year. In the spring, she ran a full-blown media blitz to win the office of president of the student government association, complete with yard signs, a Twitter campaign (#MT4MT), and a video that you can watch here.
The oldest of seven children, Madison served as an intern at the Family Research Institute in Washington, D.C., in 2015. She had planned to take another internship this summer in D.C., but she decided she wanted to stay at school working in the student government association office to help next year’s freshman class get acquainted with the campus.
"I would love to end up in D.C. one day," said Madison, who after graduation hopes to land a marketing job for a nonprofit organization. "I would love to be an influence there and influence people for good."