April 21, 2014
Journalist and University of Virginia alumna Katie Couric returned to Charlottesville to help award a number of scholarships to young women in the name of her sister.
The Omni Hotel hosted the 14th-annual Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship luncheon on Tuesday.
"To be able to help in any way we can for them to achieve their goals, for them to pursue their dreams and complete their educations and move forward in the world, it's wonderful that we're able to make a contribution," Couric said.
The Emily Couric Leadership Forum honors female high school seniors every year who demonstrate leadership. This year, nine young women were nominated.
Charlottesville High School senior Carman Drake won the $30,000 scholarship. All the other finalists received $5,000.
"Just being nominated meant a lot, that my school is recognizing what I do and saw me as a leader in the community and the school," Drake said.
Drake plays varsity lacrosse and field hockey at CHS, and also acts as editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper. For the past two years, she's spent her weekends teaching English to kids who have come to America.
"They are global citizens," she said. "They've moved to several countries in the process of getting to the United States, and I want to be able to be a global citizen, as well."
The forum also honored award-winning journalist Tina Brown, founder of the Daily Beast and former editor if the New Yorker, with the 2014 Women's Leadership Award.
"I think sometimes people think leadership as being kind of anointed from above whereas of course it is actually about stepping up yourself when you see a vacuum someone else isn't filling," Brown said. "It's always very inspiring to meet young women who are at the beginning of their leadership path."
The awards are named after state Sen. Emily Couric, a popular politician who died of cancer while running for lieutenant governor.
"She cared so deeply about education and about leadership, particularly for women and girls," Couric said of her sister.
The senator's legacy continues to live on through the luncheon and the scholarship.
"It fills you with so much hope and optimism to see all these young women who are thinking about their futures, who really want to make a contribution to society and the world at large," Couric said.
As for Drake, she plans on attending Yale University in the fall, majoring in international relations and Arabic.