It is unusual for students in middle school to earn a scholarship. It is even rarer for siblings attending the same school to win the same scholarship, but feat was achieved by siblings Dominic and Rain Jocas, who are eighth-graders at Canton Country Day.

It is unusual for students in middle school to earn a scholarship. It is even more rare for siblings attending the same school to win the same scholarship.

That feat was achieved by siblings Dominic and Rain Jocas, North Canton residents who are eighth-graders at Canton Country Day. The Jocas’ earned the The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program award. Cooke is the former owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Redskins.

According to The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s website, the scholarships are designed to encourage and support outstanding students who work hard and have financial need. In all, the foundation's scholarships provide financial assistance and academic support to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.

"The process was a lot like applying for a boarding school," wrote Rain through email, who is a straight-A student. "We had to have an Englis hand Math recommender, submit standardized test scores and grades for every class, submit tax forms for our households, and we each, including my mom, had to fill out multiple essays. After becoming semifinalists, we had an interview with one of the academic advisors."

Dominic, also a straight-A student, added through email that they had to write an essay. "It was actually pretty hard, compared to other applications. I had to write about six 200 word essays and one 1,000 word essay."

The Jocas’ were only two of 45 people across the U.S. to earn this scholarship out of 2,100 applicants. The scholarships are individualized and goes toward the cost of summer programs, boarding school tuition, travel fare, books and potentially studying aboard. However, the main perk is that Rain and Dominic get an academic advisor and when they are juniors, they will get a college counselor.

Rain explained that she and her brother found out about this scholarship through her older sisters, who applied for scholarships through Questbridge, a non-profit that offers aide to high-achieving students who are seeking to attend prestigious universities.

"My older sisters were Questbridge finalists," wrote Rain. "They found out about it through another Questbridge finalist who was a previous Young Scholar, and told us about it."

In addition to getting good grades and having nine siblings, Rain described her extracurricular schedule, which includes a passion for Power of the Pen. She is also in Math Club, Film Club, A cappella and has participated in three musicals. She also plays soccer, basketball and track and field.

Dominic is also involved in several activities outside of school. He has played the cello for two years and sculpts with wax. He likes engineering and building things in his basement.

"I am vice-president of student council," wrote Dominic. "I play in the orchestra pit for the school’s musical, Film Club and participating in Lincoln Oratorical."

Jack Kent Cooke was born in Canada, left high school in 1930 to help support his family during the Great Depression. He later became a successful entrepreneur and businessman moving to the United States and eventually owning the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Nara Lee, who works for the foundation, explained through email about the foundation and the yearly scholarships that are awarded.

"The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was launched in 2000, funded by a bequest from entrepreneur and sports team owner Jack Kent Cooke, who died in 1997," wrote Lee. "In his will, Cooke made provisions for the sale of the Redskins and some of his other assets to create a foundation to help extraordinary students with financial need – similar in many ways to himself as a young man – afford a college education."

Lee went on to write The Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program is a competitive scholarship program available to seventh graders to apply. The scholarship seeks out the brightest students in the country with demonstrated financial need. Eligible students complete an application that includes academic records, teacher recommendations, financial information and student essays. More than 2,000 students across the country applied for the award in 2016. Applications go through a rigorous selection process which includes expert education readers and admissions representatives from top schools in the country.

"The scholarship is a merit scholarship for students with significant financial need," wrote Lee. "Other criteria that are considered in the selection process include leadership, persistence and a desire to help others."

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has provided over $152 million in scholarships to students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also awarded more than $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

The Cooke Young Scholars Program will accept applications in February 2017. Visit www.jkcf.org/ysp for more information.