Jayelen Knowles, right, met with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Knowles was one of 10 scholars nationwide who won a 0,000 Samsung American Legion National Scholar award. [Photo courtesy of Jenni Rooney]

Moab resident Jayelen Knowles, who graduated this spring from Grand County High School, is one of 10 scholars selected from more than 5,500 applicants across the country who won this year’s Samsung American Legion National Scholar award.

Each scholar receives a $20,000 scholarship for undergraduate expenses and the opportunity to be honored for their accomplishments in Washington, D.C.

The American Legion has administered the scholarship fund since 1996; electronics leader Samsung endowed the fund in appreciation of U.S. veterans, with an emphasis on the families of those who served during the Korean War. National Scholars must be a direct descendant of a war-time veteran. Knowles’ grandfather is a veteran of the Korean War.

To become a Samsung American Legion National Scholar, applicants must first be selected as the state finalist from their respective American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program. From the 99 state finalists, the top 10 applicants are selected by The American Legion Committee on Youth Education. These exceptional students distinguished themselves through their academic accomplishments and dedication to service in their communities.

While in Washington, D.C., Knowles visited the Armed Forces Retirement Home to participate in a service project with Operation Comfort Warriors. The American Legion-sponsored Operation Comfort Warriors distributes care packages and provides recreational opportunities to military personnel and veterans recovering from wounds and illnesses at medical facilities and transition units around the country.

With the help of this scholarship, Knowles plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall to pursue a degree in biology.

GCHS graduate was one of 10 students to win National Scholar award