This week I left for a four day Scholar’s Weekend at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, which I attend annually as a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholar. Jack Kent Cooke was a Canadian-born entrepreneur who at various times owned sports teams such as the Washington Redskins, the Lakers, and the Los Angeles Kings. A keen businessman, he led a colorful private life, but Mr. Cooke remains best known for his remarkable generosity. Upon his death, the bulk of his estate was given to the establishment of a foundation that awards scholarships to high achieving students of modest financial means, enabling them to go to college and complete degree programs. I belong to the eleventh cohort, as a 2011 Undergraduate Transfer Student. Because of “Uncle Jack” as we call him, I am able to pursue my dreams of obtaining a bachelors and master’s degree in social work. We call our fellow scholars “cousins” and we refer to ourselves as “Cookies.”
During Scholars Weekend, we attend a variety of panels and workshops. Programming begins at eight-thirty each morning and continues to roughly nine-thirty each night. The highlights of our big weekend in the annual talent show on our last night and the Cooke Conundrum. The Cooke Conundrum is a problem solving puzzle race that saw us split into sixty-odd teams of six as we tried to decipher difficult clues that led to the answer. Saturday was my first conundrum, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges.
The extended weekend in Leesburg ended all too soon. I made new friends and renewed my acquaintances with others. It has only been twelve hours since we boarded the shuttle buses to take us home, and I am already looking forward to next year.