DAVIDSON, N.C. – Clare MacDonald of Huntersville has become the first Woodlawn School student to earn the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The four-year scholarship, based entirely on merit, provides full tuition, student fees, housing, meals, books, a laptop, and supplies for each scholar’s UNC career. Additionally, it provides a four-year Summer Enrichment Program focused on outdoor leadership, public service, inquiry and exploration, and private enterprise.
“After I read about the structure of the program,” MacDonald says, “I realized that it was the natural continuation of my Woodlawn experience."
MacDonald entered Woodlawn in the fifth grade, and has immersed herself in campus life as well as academics. She is a longtime member of the varsity basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, helped organize the Outdoors Club, is co-editor of the yearbook (The Mighty Oak) and recently played one of three leads in a school theatrical production.
Outside of school, MacDonald is active in the youth programs of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, and a four-year member of its leadership council that serves to direct youth events. With an interest in disabilities education and social justice, she has volunteered at the Diocese H.U.G.S. Camp, assisting special-needs campers with all the activities of camp life, and co-created the diocese's first summer program about race issues. Her volunteer work with the nonprofit Angels in Need, which serves special-needs children, has been “humbling,” she says. “It’s a powerful, constant reminder of equality and that we all hold different talents.”
During her sophomore year, MacDonald aided in the creation of a video production to educate others about mental health issues. A Girl Scout, MacDonald has joined another Woodlawn senior to create the start-up EqualiTees organization, which prints tee shirts to raise funds for charities related to social causes. At the end of her Woodlawn School senior year Capstone Course, she will hold an internship with the nonprofit Holy Angels.
“The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program seeks students ‘for whom learning is an appetite rather than a means to an end’ – and I can't think of a more perfect fit for the program than Clare,” says Beth Helfrich, Head of the Upper School at Woodlawn School. “She is an intellectual tornado who is always hungry for new ideas, but she also cares tremendously about doing her best work, about others, and about making a difference. Clare is more than an outstanding student; she's our mission embodied: An independent, lifelong learner who will undoubtedly make significant contributions to her college community and the world beyond.”
At UNC, MacDonald says she plans to takes courses in humanities, ethics and biology classes, eventually pursuing Bioethical Law. “I like to debate and hold conversations in a rational, educated manner; I want to combine this with my interest in mental health and disabilities,” she says.
MacDonald is “over the moon” excited about being honored with the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. “The program forces you to not look at your path linearly; it makes you critically examine and explore your passions to fully understand your potential. Woodlawn has guided me here, showing me that learning isn’t found just in the classroom, but also in every life experience. Woodlawn has prepared me incredibly well for this path.”
Woodlawn is an independent school founded in 2002 and located just north of Davidson, North Carolina. Enrolling students in grades K through 12, Woodlawn is accredited by both the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and offers a challenging, project-based academic experience.