Milford’s Law High students named Coca-Cola scholar semi-finalists

The Milford Public School district has announced that two of its senior students in: Diya Daruka, and Mackenzie Powers, have been named semi-finalists in the 2022 Coca-Cola Scholar Program. Daruka, and Powers are shown.

The Milford Public School district has announced that two of its senior students in: Diya Daruka, and Mackenzie Powers, have been named semi-finalists in the 2022 Coca-Cola Scholar Program. Daruka, and Powers are shown.

Contributed photo

MILFORD — Jonathan Law High School seniors Diya Daruka and Mackenzie Powers have been named semifinalists in the 2022 Coca-Cola Scholar Program.

The Coca-Cola Corporation received more than 68,000 applications from students across the country with only 2 percent of those students named as semifinalists. In Connecticut, 17 students earned semifinal status and were selected based on their academic excellence, leadership and service demonstrated in the school and community.

Daruka and Powers are putting the final touches on their semifinalist submission packets in the hopes of advancing in the selection process.

At the completion of the semifinalist review, 250 students will advance as regional finalists, with 150 becoming Coca-Cola Scholars. Each student, who is named as a Coca-Cola Scholar, will receive a $20,000 college scholarship.

Daruka currently ranks first in the Class of 2022 at Jonathan Law High. She was named a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship earlier this fall as well as serving as president of the Math National Honor Society, vice president of the Science Club, and treasurer for the school’s Key Club.

She also holds a seat on the national board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America non-profit organization and serves as president of the Keystone Club. The Keystone Club is a group in the organization, that provides leadership opportunities for teens.

Daruka will also serve as captain of the girls varsity tennis team in the spring.

Beyond her work at Johnathan Law, Daruka founded her own non-profit financial literacy program, teaching students in sixth through the 12th grade about saving, financial decision-making, college and retirement planning, and personal money management. She has reached more than 150 students through the program so far and plans to continue the work into the future.

Daruka has completed college entrance applications to Boston College and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, with others in the works. She hopes to pursue a degree in finance, and investment banking, and analytics. She would like to start her own impact investing firm some day.

Powers serves as the vice president of the school’s Natural Helpers Club and secretary of the school’s National Honor Society. She currently captains the girls varsity gymnastics team and will also serve as captain of the girls outdoor track team in the spring.

Powers also founded Mackenzie’s Beach Clean-Up project, an effort she began at age 4 and is now in its 14th year. Through her leadership, she organizes the annual event including the procurement of volunteers, arranges for supplies, and handles the public relations surrounding her beach clean-ups.

Her program primarily targets the Milford beaches of Walnut Beach, Silver Sands and Gulf Beach. In 2019, more than 200 volunteers joined the effort, removing more than 1,200 pounds of trash from the beaches.

Powers hopes to pursue a degree in environmental biology where she may continue her work on the issues, globally. She currently has submitted college applications to Susquehanna University, the University of Denver, Tulane University, and Stetson University.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is the largest corporate-sponsored, achievement-based scholarship program in the United States. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation will have provided more than $78 million in scholarships to college students over the past 34 years.