NEWPORT—Cocke County High School senior Derek Driskill has been named to the Niswonger School for the Class of 2024, one of six East Tennessee students in Northeast Tennessee to receive this prestigious Niswonger Scholar award.
Founded by Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger, the Niswonger Foundation passed its 100-scholar milestone with the selection of Driskill and the other five Class of 2024 recipients.
Currently there are 19 Niswonger Scholars studying at various colleges and universities, including CCHS alumna Emily Ellison, a student at Clemson University.
Niswonger Scholars are selected through a nomination process that seeks to identify the region’s best and brightest future leaders. Recipients receive the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them in their field of study. While doing so, Niswonger Scholars also participate in a four-year leadership program.
The program emphasizes leadership, business management, community service, and ethical decision making. Students are provided travel, training, internships, and personalized support to become model leaders and citizens of the world.
Driskill is the son of Randy and Angel Driskill and the grandson of Wayne and Shawnee Driskill, all of Newport, and the late Herschel and Faye Mantooth. He has one older brother, Alex, 22.
At CCHS, Derek serves as president of the National Honors Society, Beta Club secretary, Key Club treasurer, and team captain for the Scholars Bowl. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Mu Alpha Theta, ACT+30 Club and WSCC Spanish Honors Society, he is also team captain of the cross-country team and track team.
Derek has already received academic awards in AP European History, AP United States History, SDC Pre-Calculus, Honors Physics, and was a Boys’ National Finalist.
An active member of Shady Grove Baptist Church, Derek is a member of the choir. Other community service has come through his work with filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child with the National Honors Society and the CCHS Beta Club’s annual Veterans Day program. Most recently he served as a host for the Newport Theatre Guild’s production of Annie.
He currently continues to consider various colleges and universities for next year, having applied to 18 different schools. He plans to enter the field of education.
CCHS administration members are thrilled with Derek’s selection, including Nancy Brawley, CCHS Assistant Principal, who said, “CCHS is immensely proud of Derek. Nothing makes us happier as administrators to see students recognized for their hard work. In addition, Derek’s qualities as a young man extend way beyond the classroom as he is a role model for many of our students. And, finally, knowing that Derek wants to pursue a career in education brings great hope for both our profession and the many lives he will affect in the future.”