While most high school seniors spend their last few days planning end-of-the-year parties, reminiscing with friends or trying to fit in one last prank on the freshmen, Nicolas "Cole" Holocker is accepting the 2013 Ravens Scholarship awarded to students committed to improving their community.
Holocker, a Century High School senior, along with five other Baltimore area students, will receive a $5,000 renewable scholarship (up to $20,000 over four years) to put toward college. The program, funded by the Ravens All Community Team Foundation, is in its fourth consecutive year awarding local students for outstanding achievements. Winners were chosen from more than 150 applications from students attending public schools in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Carroll County.
Other recipients named as 2013 Ravens Scholars are Alison McGuire, Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts; Andrew Shipton, Westminster High School; Imani Staton-McCrimmon, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute; and Barellie Thompson, W.E.B. DuBois High School. All winners have demonstrated a dedication to education and to their communities.
Holocker's high school career includes being elected president of the Carroll County Student Government Association, participating in his high school's wind ensemble and being a 2012 AP scholar.
"I've been involved with student council since elementary school," said Holocker. "It's when I found my passion. Some people find it in sports or other things; I find it in student government. I like working with other people, making council changes. It can really help people."
School isn't the only place where Holocker is working to help people. Along with his older sister Allison, who also received a Ravens scholarship in 2011, he founded a nonprofit organization in 2004, Kids United, which distributed Christmas gifts and sports equipment to underprivileged children in the Baltimore area.
The Century High School senior's busy schedule also includes refereeing youth soccer games, and working as a public information officer and fire lieutenant for the Sykesville Freedom District Junior Firefighter program. All this responsibility plus making time for friends, family and homework could be challenging but Holocker has become adept at juggling many things at once.
"It's a skill you learn," said Holocker. "I don't know how it just all worked out. You have to know what you're capable of doing. Don't overburden yourself. Learn to work with other people."
Accepted into the University of Maryland for this fall, Holocker has plans to continue his political ambitions by majoring in government and politics. He names President John F. Kennedy as one of his role models.
"He was a great leader," said Holocker. "He really worked to set goals and achieve them, with the space program and domestic policy. He worked beyond his personal interests for the good of the people and that's really impressive. I've tried to set my own course for myself — really take what I like about a lot of different people and form my own self conscience."
Holocker will be participating in the university's Public Leadership program, part of the prestigious College Park Scholars initiative.The program helps students improve their leadership skills through philanthropic activities and community-based projects.
But just like in high school, Holocker plans to make time for fun as well as philathropy while at University of Maryland. One thing is certain — he will continue rooting for his favorite team, the Baltimore Ravens.
"It's a great honor to receive the scholarship," said Holocker. "I'm a huge Ravens fan and that makes it that much more sweet. The Ravens represent what's important to me with philanthropic involvement and their management with working in the community. It means a lot to be a recipient of funds that does so much for the community."