PBSC student named a Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholar
Joseph Culbreath, one of six Palm Beach State College students named to the 2019 All-Florida Academic Team, also has been chosen as a Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholar.
As a silver scholar, Culbreath, who serves as president of both the Phi Theta Kappa chapter on the Lake Worth campus and the Honors College Advisory Council, will receive a $1,250 scholarship and a commemorative medallion.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society sponsors the All-USA Academic Team competition annually with USA Today. Through the competitive application process that drew 2,000 nominees nationwide this year, students also are considered for the Coca-Cola Academic Team, New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship, New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship, and the All-State Academic Teams where applicable. Selections are based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team and recognizes 50 gold, 50 silver and 50 bronze scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. “The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”
In addition to Culbreath, PBSC leaders also nominated Joseph Morel, a former student trustee, and Oriana Bottaro, Jancarlos Gomez, Rachael Hobbs and Maggie Tonns. They are among the 158 students on the All-Florida Academic Team who will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Orlando April 4.
Culbreath, who is pursuing the Gold Track in the Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College, said he’s honored to be chosen for the Cola-Cola Academic Team. “To be recognized in the top 150 out of 2,000 applicants is really humbling. It gives you that energy to keep working hard.”
Culbreath was home schooled through 12th grade and began taking piano lessons when he was 10. He also played sports through Jupiter Christian School. After high school, he took a three-year break before enrolling at PBSC in fall 2016. During that time, he taught group piano lessons to children at Faith’s Place in Lake Worth through the Grace Notes Music Foundation. He also worked initially as a coach at Jupiter Christian School and then helped coach the basketball teams at Berean Christian School in West Palm Beach. He said the coach at Berean encouraged him to enroll in college.
Initially, Culbreath, who takes classes at various campuses, was concerned about his transition to college. “I wasn’t sure of the transition being a home-school student. I ended up doing very well.” He continued to excel and earned the minimum 3.5 grade point average required for the Honors College as well as Phi Theta Kappa. He has applied to colleges in Florida and around the country and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance or economics after graduating from PBSC with his Associate in Arts degree in May. His goal is to work in the business or management side of sports.