Four Klamath Community College students are nominated as Coca-Cola scholars; (l-r) Frank Bertalot, Charisse Wells, Jacob Baldwin, and Heather McCray.

KLAMATH FALLS — Four Klamath Community College students have earned nomination for the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team, a program recognizing college students with academic excellence, leadership, intellectual rigor, and service to community beyond the classroom.

Four current KCC students have been notified of their nomination for the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team: Frank Bertalot, Charisse Wells, Jacob Baldwin, and Heather McCray.

The Coca-Cola Scholars foundation, administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, announces nominees each year for students in four-year universities and community colleges nationwide, awarding scholarship stipends to those selected for the academic team. For community colleges, 150 stipends are distributed annually to academic team honorees, divided into three tiers (bronze, silver, gold) with scholarships ranging for community college students.
Additionally, Phi Theta Kappa provides 150 scholarships for Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise for enrolled PTK members currently pursuing an associate degree. Each college campus can nominate two workforce (CTE) students and two transfer-bound students annually.

Bertalot, an EagleRidge High School graduate, is a sophomore in the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) program. He plans to transfer to Oregon State University after completing his associate degree at KCC to pursue mechanical engineering.

“When I graduated from high school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Bertalot. “I excelled at math and I really wanted to do hands-on work in the future. I would like to work on electric vehicles, maybe work for Tesla – its’ good for the environment, and it’s the future.”

Wells is a second-year diesel technician student at KCC who will graduate in June. The lone female student currently enrolled in the diesel program, she decided to return to school after initially pursuing a possible career as an electrician. Wells hopes to open a small engine shop or work on transmissions.

“Getting scholarships have really helped,” said Wells. “The tools and books are expensive, I couldn’t believe it all came together and I could afford it all. With scholarships and VA benefits I will be able to graduate with no debt.”

Baldwin is currently in the automotive program at KCC. He aspires to work after graduation building custom cars

and someday return for additional higher education to pursue mechanical engineering.
“Admittedly I didn’t do well in high school, but when I came back into school I really wanted to succeed and

started doing really well in my classes,” said Baldwin. “I got invitations to the PTK Foundation from there, and saw that scholarships were available.”

McCray is a KCC student residing in Lakeview and studying general studies psychology. Listed on the KCC Dean’s List, Honor Roll, and with Phi Theta Kappa honors, McCray plans to transfer to Arizona State University for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She hopes to have a career in social work with the Department of Human Services in Lakeview.

“I have pushed through and done my absolute best,” said McCray. “KCC has always backed me up and been supportive any time I have needed it.”

In addition to the Cocoa-Cola Academic Teams, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society also oversees the All-USA Academic Team Program. This includes New Century Scholarships and All-State Academic Teams. Nominated students are placed in a national competition for scholarship opportunities that total in excess of $41 million annually. The All-Oregon Academic Team will be announced later this month.