Green Hope Senior Sashank Ganapathiraju Receives Park and Morehead-Cain Scholarships for the Class of 2026


Photo taken by Morehead-Cain Scholarship Committee

Green Hope Senior Sashank Ganapathiraju Becomes One of Only Students to be Admitted to Morehead-Cain Class of 2026.

Samir Tusneem, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The Morehead-Cain and Park scholarships are two of the most coveted endowments desired by high school students. Fully funding four-year tuition and fees including room/board and food at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, respectively, these scholarships recognize the four years of dedication, commitment, and effort from high school students across the nation and around the world. 

Green Hope Senior Sashank Ganapathiraju was selected as one of the only students to receive both the Morehead-Cain and Park scholarships. 

“I got the Park notification right after one of my lacrosse practices, actually. I got back to my bag on the sideline to take off my gear when I got a call from a scam-likely from Raleigh, from someone telling me that I got the Park scholarship. I didn’t think it would actually happen,” Sashank said. “When I actually got it, I was kind of speechless for a minute. After a brief moment of speechlessness, I went home and celebrated with my parents, and it was very humbling in the sense that I wasn’t really expecting it and was very grateful for getting this opportunity,” he said.

Serving as the Senior Class President for Green Hope, the President of National Honor Society, the coach for the Davis Drive Middle School Science Bowl Team, an attorney at the NC Teen District Court, and the founder of Vidhya Rights Foundation, a non-profit that has raised over $20,000 for providing education to orphans in India, Sashank certainly exemplifies the success that can come from finding and pursuing your passions.

“The biggest thing that I like to think about is to do something that I am interested in, and do something that I feel can provide something unique to the table. One of my mentors said to make sure that at the end of your four years of high school, once you leave for college, make sure your presence is missed,” Sashank said.

From the beginning of the process to the end, Dean of Students Mr. Justin McIntyre and Mrs. Katherine Tarr worked with Sashank during the application process, especially once he advanced to the semifinalist round.  Mr. McIntyre said, “His level of impact was really obvious…I felt that I saw growth, not only from a position standpoint but also as a human; he grew through the activities that he was a part of.” 

Despite this success, the application process for these scholarships was no easy feat, testing both an applicant’s ability to present themselves in both a written and verbal manner. 

For Green Hope’s nomination process, a total of 17 students applied for the Park scholarship, six moved onto the interview round, and only two were selected as nominees. For Morehead-Cain, similarly, 25 total students applied, ten moved onto the interview process, and only five were nominated. In other words, the nomination process is, without a doubt, notably selective. However, it is important to note that the process is holistic in the sense that statistics may gain attention, but it is the individual character and exemplification of personal interests that ultimately help applicants stand out. 

In terms of the format of the nomination process itself, the application consists of a primary written application, which is then reviewed by a selection committee composed of a pool of teachers, staff members, and counselors that choose the students for the interview stage. After the interview, which is a discussion-based examination of each student, the nominations are made. Even if a student is not nominated by Green Hope specifically, the student will still have the opportunity to nominate themselves and continue with the application process. Sashank, for instance, did not get nominated for the Park Scholarship, and he applied through the self-nomination process instead. Even if this is the route a student decides to ultimately take, students can still reach out to their counselors for mock interviews and application help as the student services staff members are there to ensure that students produce the best possible application. 

For students who are hoping to apply for these scholarships in the years to come, Sashank offers one important piece of advice: be yourself. 

Sashank said, “Don’t try to put activities on your application that you did not really do, and don’t try to show off a personality that you don’t really have.  Describe who you are. That is the number one thing that scholarship committees want to see in your interview and that you are able to be candid and are able to show that you are human.”

Similarly, Green Hope counselors Mrs. Jessica Merry and Mr. Justin McIntyre emphasized the importance of pursuing personal interests both within school as well as in the local community. “If someone says they like science, it’s okay to be explicit about the fact that you love science. But I also want to see that you are pursuing science in diverse areas; maybe you are a part of Science Olympiad, maybe you do a program with local middle school students that focuses on science, maybe you are a science tutor,” says Mr. McIntyre. “I just want to see that you are exploring that interest in different areas, both in Green Hope and outside of Green Hope,” he said. 

Sashank recently committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he hopes to pursue a double major in Biology and Computer Science while also expressing interest in continuing to study music. Regardless of the path that he chooses for himself, we wish him all the best in his endeavors and have the utmost confidence in his potential for success and making a difference in the lives of others.