IVCC sophomore named 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar

Grace Irwin of Peru to receive a $1,250 scholarship

Illinois Valley Community College sophomore Grace Irwin of Peru has been named a 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

Illinois Valley Community College sophomore Grace Irwin of Peru has been named a 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

Selection was based on scores Irwin earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition, for which more than 2,200 applications were received this year. Irwin is one of only 50 Silver Scholars.

Irwin said she was excited to learn she’d received the scholarship – and surprised – but grateful because “at least I know I have a little [financial] support when I go away next fall. It will be easier on my family.”

She hopes to transfer next fall to Hillsdale College in Michigan. Although she expects to pursue dual majors in philosophy and religion, she’s still exploring options.

IVCC gave her that freedom to explore, she said.

Since being introduced during a Spirit Day to the variety of student organizations, “I’ve just been trying a little bit of everything,” Irwin said.

A pair of sociology classes that invited spirited discussions and sessions of the Socrates Cafe philosophy club helped refine her education goals, she said.

Off-campus, Irwin enjoys the discipline and challenge of martial arts. She also volunteers at an area horse farm two days a week.

Growing up on TV programs such as “Little House on the Prairie” and Westerns spurred her interest, and working with horses “is something I do because I love it,” she said. “You can’t get a feeling of riding without actually riding a horse.”

Irwin is a graduate of St. Bede Academy. She is the daughter of Susan Irwin.

She was nominated for the honor by IVCC administrators. Selection was based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service.

Irwin ranks within the top 2% to 5% of all submitted student applications, which are the top of their individual institutions.

The program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and administered by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

The foundation awards 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars with almost $200,000 in scholarships annually. Academic team members are recognized in local and statewide ceremonies and internationally during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention from April 4 to 6 in Orlando, Florida.