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By KELLY RICHARDSON email@example.com HARDIN COUNTY — Austin Brown might never buy Pepsi products again. Brown, a senior at Central Hardin High School, was named a Coca-Cola Scholar. Brown will receive a scholarship of $20,000 from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation to use in his undergraduate or graduate studies. Brown is one of 50 students in the nation to receive the scholarship and was selected from about 81,000 initial applicants for the scholarship. Brown plans to use his newfound wealth toward a four-year degree at Northern Kentucky University. He plans to major in stage management and electronic media and broadcasting, with minors in pop culture and journalism. He would like to eventually work in the film industry. “As long as I can remember, that’s what I’ve wanted to do,” he said. The initial application for the scholarship mostly consisted of outlining extracurricular activities and service awards. Brown said after he finished, he thought he didn’t have enough to push him to the next stage in the selection process. “I actually was discouraged after,” he said. Myra Lewis, senior counselor at Central, shakes her head at Brown’s negative thoughts about his service work. “His resumé, as far as community service goes, is one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Lewis said. Brown mentioned Invisible Children, Lincoln Trail Domestic Violence Shelter, Toys for Tots and March of Dimes as some of the organizations in which he’s been involved. After Brown became one of 1,200 semifinalists, he had to elaborate further on his service work, plus complete three 250-word essays and one 500-word essay. He also had to submit two letters of recommendation, along with grades and ACT scores. On a rough day for most other Hardin Countians, the February day of the tornado which dismantled parts of Central and other area buildings, Brown’s day went significantly better. He was taking photos of the destruction for the school newspaper when he got a phone call from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Bad cell phone reception caused him not to quite understand what the call was about at first. But one crucial piece of information set him straight. “It was right at the point when he mentioned how much money there was,” Brown said. Brown had become one of 250 finalists, all of whom traveled to Atlanta for a conference and the final interview to be won of 50 scholars. Brown, however, got to skip the interview portion, as he was named the Coca-Cola Crawford T. Johnson III Scholar. This means he automatically was named a Coca-Cola scholar, before anyone else. Lewis said she was “just shocked and thrilled, because I think he’s very deserving.” “It’s something that will follow him the rest of his life,” she said. Brown would like to continue working with the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation by working with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and serving on the scholarship board as a student representative. Kelly Richardson can be reached at (270) 505-1747.