news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Officials Announce Winners of Full-Tuition Ignite Excellence Scholarships

A photo of two Gardner-Webb Banners - one says Ignite Your Future and the other one features the flame logo

Eight Students Receive $31,220 Each in Recognition of Exemplary Academic Achievements

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Admissions officials at Gardner-Webb University have announced the 2021 winners of the Ignite Excellence Scholarships. Selected from a field of 200 finalists, each of the eight recipients receive a full-tuition scholarship that honors their exemplary academic achievements. The average Grade Point Average (GPA) of these students is 4.45. The award covers the cost of tuition for fall and spring semesters and is valued at $31,220 per academic year.

“Our Ignite Scholars were so impressive this year especially with so much interest in the scholarship program from our prospective students,” shared Julie C. Fleming, assistant vice president for Undergraduate Admissions. “Our scholars are a diverse group of future Runnin’ Bulldogs, coming from four states and with interest in a variety of programs from nursing and biology to Bible studies. We look forward to the contributions they will make, and the success they will have at Gardner-Webb University.”

The winners are listed below with their hometowns, high schools and intended majors:

  • Allie Cooke, of Hildebran, N.C., a senior at East Burke High School, exercise science.
  • Anna-Kate Schiebel, of Asheboro, N.C., a senior at Southwestern Randolph High School, undecided.
  • Sorelle Werner, of Cornelius, N.C., a senior at Liberty Preparatory Christian Academy, worship leadership and biology.
  • John Haynes, of Lincolnton, N.C., a senior at Lincoln Charter School, biology.
  • Aletheia McDowell, of Simpsonville, S.C., homeschool, undecided.
  • Nicholas Cobble, of Bristow, Va., a senior at Stonewall Jackson High School, biology.
  • Logan Baumstark, of Davidson, N.C., a senior at Merancas Middle College High School, Bible studies.
  • Shelby Watkins, of Manchester, Tenn., a senior at Coffee County Central High School, undecided.
A photo of Shelby Watkins
Shelby Watkins

Watkins, who visited Gardner-Webb on a recommendation from her uncle, is ecstatic about receiving the scholarship. She has also stayed on campus twice as a participant in the Honors Experience in 2019 and 2020. The Honors Experience is a one-week college immersion for academically gifted and talented ninth- through 11th-grade students. Students who are accepted into the Honors Experience are automatically invited to participate in Gardner-Webb’s Ignite Excellence Scholarship competition.

“They were both awesome experiences, and I would recommend the experience to any person interested in Gardner-Webb,” Watkins said. “I loved being able to learn new things and make friends that I am still in contact with today! The event solidified my decision to go to GWU, because it seemed like an amazing place to be. Gardner-Webb had my intended major, a family-like atmosphere, and professors that I knew would support me in my dream.”

Nick Cobble also attended the Honors Experience and at the end of the week, he made the choice to attend Gardner-Webb. “I had the opportunity to take a ‘Get to know your neighbor class,’ where we learned about different world religions and an ‘Exercise Science’ class where we learned more about human physiology and the program itself at Gardner-Webb,” he reflected. “Through the week, I volunteered with Rutherford Housing to build a wheelchair accessible front porch and paint a home. We also helped deep clean a foster home and organize food at a local food pantry. This experience influenced my decision to apply to the school as the campus was very Christ centered, something that I hold close to my own heart. Each building has Mark 12:29-31 outside on a plaque, which serves as a reminder of serving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” 

A photo of Nick Cobble
Nick Cobble

Cobble said the most memorable point in the week came when Gardner-Webb sophomores, Tanner Hendricks and Michael Causey, the volunteer Resident Advisors for the week, displayed a genuine act of service for the group. “After working outside for five hours in the Carolina heat, they took it upon themselves to buy pizza and drinks for the other dozen boys participating,” Cobble shared. “We then gathered in a common space inside the dorm and before handing out pizza, they shared with us from the gospel of Matthew, the Parable of The Lost Sheep. It was an amazing moment. A dozen or so guys, who had just met the day before, were together discussing one great truth: The love of Christ for us. We followed the conversation with talking about each of our lives and what was going on.” 

Cobble concluded, “Experiencing the kindness of people going to Gardner-Webb is what brought me to apply. I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, and those in the leadership role during the week demonstrated what it meant to be selfless.”

About GWU Admissions

Gardner-Webb offers merit and needs-based scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities to meet students’ unique needs. The Office of Financial Planning is dedicated to providing students and their families with friendly, efficient, and responsible financial services, while complying with all federal, state, and University policies. For more information about the admissions process, email [email protected].

About the Honors Experience

The Honors Experience will be July 18-23, 2021, on the Gardner-Webb campus in Boiling Springs. Participants spend a full week living in dorms, traveling to field experiences, and attending classes. Those who attend are automatically qualified to compete for a full-tuition scholarship to Gardner-Webb. Email questions about the Honors Experience to Mindy Robinson, coordinator for Community Engagement and Student Ministries at [email protected].

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

a group of girls at the GWU Honors Experience
Shelby Watkins, back row, second from right, attended The Honors Experience twice before being accepted to Gardner-Webb. The Honors Experience is a one-week college immersion for academically gifted and talented ninth- through 11th-grade students. Students who are accepted into The Honors Experience are automatically invited to participate in Gardner-Webb’s Ignite Excellence Scholarship competition.

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