2023 Laurel Ridge graduate earns full scholarship to JMU ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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2023 Laurel Ridge graduate earns full scholarship to JMU

Celia Cooley photograph
2023 Laurel Ridge graduate Celia Cooley earns full scholarship to JMU.

As a 15-year-old homeschool student, Celia Cooley was interested in challenging herself with more rigorous coursework. However, she was undecided as to whether she wanted to enroll at Laurel Ridge as a dual-enrollment student or enroll in classes at the local high school.

Ultimately, Celia decided to attend Laurel Ridge, and she is incredibly grateful to the college for providing her with the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects and for encouraging her to pursue her interest in environmental science and the performing arts.

During her time at Laurel Ridge, Celia developed a passion for Biology and Environmental Science – first, through her enrollment in Dr. Brenda Wiens’ Biology course, and then as the STEM Club secretary. Celia was elected as the STEM Club president in 2021 and continued working with her fellow officers and STEM Club advisors to write and submit a proposal to construct a community garden on the Middletown Campus.

Because of her experiences with the STEM Club and working with her wonderful science professors, Celia was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship for STEM majors at James Madison University, where she will double major in Biology and Film.

As a student at Laurel Ridge, Celia was able to foster her passion for the performing arts by participating in an acting course with Selah Theatre Project and attending events at the William H. McCoy Theatre. Celia was also the recipient of the Michael Boaz Memorial Scholarship for her involvement in theater, which encouraged her to further pursue her interest in acting and film directing.

Celia would like to extend her sincere gratitude to the college, her encouraging professors, the staff members, as well as the incredible and motivated students she has met over the years. She is incredibly grateful to be a part of the Laurel Ridge community.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.