East Mississippi Community College students Toby Biddles, at left, and Madelynne Goodson have been named 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholars.

March 6, 2024

East Mississippi Community College students Toby Biddles and Madelynne Goodson have been named 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholars and will each receive a $1,250 scholarship.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars nationwide with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation President Jane Hale Hopkins said. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s global community leaders.”

Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service. Both Biddles and Goodson are members of the All-Mississippi Academic Team.

Biddles, of Meridian, is a sophomore on EMCC’s Scooba campus who graduates in May. He is president of the Eta Upsilon chapter of PTK on the Scooba campus and president of the Baptist Student Union. He is also the treasurer for that campus’ Student Government Association and is a Student Ambassador.

In 2022, Biddles was named an Eminent Scholar, as well as a member of both the National Honors Society and the Spanish Honors Society. After graduating from EMCC, Biddles plans to study Business Finance at Mississippi State University.

"Toby is one of the most unselfish servant-leaders I have ever worked with,” said Janet Briggs who, along with Derrick Conner, serves as PTK advisor on the Scooba campus. “No matter what he is working on, small or large, it is never about how he will benefit from it personally. It is about the project itself."

Goodson, of Starkville, will also graduate this May. She is president of the Student Ambassadors on the Golden Triangle campus, where she also serves as treasurer of that campus’ Student Government Association. She is vice president of public relations for the Beta Iota Zeta chapter of PTK.

Goodson is majoring in Communications at EMCC. After graduation, she plans to transfer to Mississippi State University to seek a major in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations.

The Phi Theta Kappa advisors on the Golden Triangle campus are Scott Baine and Kelly Cantrell.

"Madelynne's selection is a testament to her embodiment of Phi Theta Kappa's four pillars: Scholarship, Leadership, Fellowship, and Service," Baine said. "She excels in her pursuit of academic excellence, demonstrates remarkable leadership qualities, fosters a sense of fellowship among her peers and tirelessly engages in community service. Her dedication to these principles truly sets her apart, and I am thrilled to see her achievements recognized on the international level."

Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies. They will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention, PTK Catalyst, in Orlando, Florida, April 4-6.

“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”

Both Biddles and Goodson said their involvement with PTK has been rewarding.

“I have met some wonderful people and been able to work alongside them in accomplishing projects for our campus,” Goodson said of her experience with PTK. “It has been awesome to see our goals turn into reality. I've enjoyed the networking, leadership and life skills I've gained from my chapter and PTK advisors, and I look forward to using what I've learned in the future and beyond.”

“Joining PTK has opened many doors for me not only on campus but at my four-year university as well,” Biddles said. “I have grown tremendously as a person because of the mentorship of my PTK advisors. I am better equipped to take on any situation because of everything I learned during my time in PTK.”

About the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. Supporting more than 1,400 exceptional college students each year, it awards $3.55 million in scholarships annually through three nationally recognized programs. Learn more at coca-colascholarsfoundation.org. 

About Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.8 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 countries, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges. Learn more at ptk.org.