Class of 2025
Secondary Education Major
Performing Arts Technical Assistant
Sydnee Cooper ’25 of Northampton, PA, was the winner of Cedar Crest’s 12th Annual Scholarship Competition Day. She was one of more than 100 high school students to participate in the competition, which consists of a three-hour exam covering the arts, mathematics, science and the humanities, as well as an interview portion for finalists. In honor of her accomplishment, Cooper, who is a first-generation college student, was awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Cedar Crest.
When President Meade called Cooper to tell her she had been named the winner, “I cried, my mom cried and my family cried. It was not only a deal huge for me, but for my entire family,” she says.
Cooper shares that she experienced poverty and homelessness growing up, and, prior to winning the competition, she had been unsure if a four-year college education was in her future. When her best friend told her she planned to attend Cedar Crest, Cooper decided to apply.
“I didn't really know what I was going to do [about college],” she says. “Then I applied here and was told I was eligible for the competition. I don't come from a very well-to-do family, and so the idea was that if I did not win the competition, I would go to community college. I couldn’t afford to not win it.”
Cooper graduated in spring 2021 from Northampton Area High School. There, she participated in National Honor Society and served as a business crew manager in drama club. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the food bank her father runs at her family’s church.
Now a first-year student at Cedar Crest College, Cooper studies secondary education and has plans to add a second major in mathematics. She has continued her involvement in theatre — working behind the scenes as a technical assistant with the Performing Arts Department. In her first semester, she helped decorate the set for Cedar Crest’s production of “Dracula.”
“I am so happy with my decision to come to Cedar Crest because I love campus life. The community is so small, and I love being at a women’s college,” she says.
Cooper is enjoying her classes, her work and her newfound independence living away from home. Her favorite courses include Survey of British Literature and her first-year seminar, Women in Popular Music, and she is excited to begin her teaching field experiences.
“I'm looking forward to gaining the skills I need to be a math teacher,” says Cooper. Each year, Cedar Crest education students enroll in field experiences that target various disciplines and settings in education. By the time student teaching begins in the fall or spring of their final year, students will already have completed four field experiences and built a high level of confidence and classroom management skills.
“This [scholarship] is such an incredible opportunity,” Cooper concludes. “When we got the call, it set in that I would actually get to go to college, and I would be able to pursue the career I want to do.”