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HHS has first Morehead winner since 2012

Jake Patterson Jake Patterson

Hendersonville High School has its first Morehead-Cain scholarship winner since 2012.

Jake Patterson, the son of Caroline and Wade Patterson, will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country.

An Eagle Scout with Troop 601, he grew up with “a great group of boys,” Caroline said. During high school Jake was active in Key Club, serving as president, and in his youth group at Grace Lutheran Church, was captain of the Bearcat varsity golf team this year and served as statistician for the boys basketball team that played for the state championship this year. He also volunteers at Interfaith Assistance Ministry and works parttime as a golf cart attendant at Kenmure Country Club.

“He’s always been a self-starter,” said Caroline Patterson, a former English teacher and principal who is now an administrator at the school system's central office. “He was the kind of kid that would tell us when the due dates were.”

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study and includes a summer enrichment program designed to stretch students beyond their comfort zones, the university says. Morehead scholars also complete a leadership program before they enroll at Chapel Hill for their freshman year. Patterson is headed to Colorado for a three-week backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains.

Reached at his golf course job, Patterson said he applied for the Morehead initially in August and continued to follow up through Christmas and beyond.

“I could never really get it off my mind and that was just a little challenging,” he said. He made the first cut, participated in virtual interviews, then made the second cut and waited for the outcome. During the Bearcat basketball team’s trip to the state championship game in Winston-Salem, as the team was leaving Mount Tabor High School after a walk-through practice, “I checked my phone and found out that I won,” Patterson said. “It was kind of surreal, just in the middle of a random high school gym, finding that out.”

His time at Hendersonville High School, Patterson said, prepared him not just for college but for life.

“I’m a little biased but I think it’s one of the best high schools in the nation,” he said. “It prepared me so much and put me into contact with good people — teachers, lifelong friends that have helped shape me and develop me. I’ve been just extremely fortunate with Hendersonville High School and their emphasis on academics and success in all fields, just to have that in my mindset since I stepped in the halls in August of 2017. It’s just a great high school because there’s something for everyone and there are people for everyone.”

Teachers, coaches and scout leaders — too many to name — all helped young Jake grow into a Morehead scholar. He credited Bethany Phillis, his English teacher for three years, for advising him on the scholarship application and prepping him for the interviews.

At Carolina he plans to major in business administration and minor in public policy, with the possibility of pursuing an MBA or law degree, and maybe one day running for office.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s helped me along the journey,” he said. "There are too many to thank individually. I’m glad that I can try to pay a little bit of that back with the education and the opportunities that I’m getting through the Morehead.”