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Attaway receives prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship

May 13, 2024

Rockingham County High School senior Will Attaway, who is currently ranked No. 1 in his high school class of 2024, learned earlier this year he was selected to receive the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship and attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill later this year.

Each year, approximately 2,000 students nationwide, as well as a small group of international candidates, are considered for the prestigious, fully-funded scholarship.

The selection process is rigorous and consists of numerous rounds of interviews which take into account a variety of factors, including academic achievement, morals, character, physical prowess, leadership and the ability to motivate others.

Male high school senior photo
Will Attaway

Only 50 to 75 scholarships are offered each year to an annual incoming freshman class of over 5,500 students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Attaway said the moment he received notification of being a Morehead-Cain Scholarship recipient was very special.

“I was at a wrestling tournament and just finished warming up for my first match, and I opened an email and saw I received the scholarship. I tried to contain my excitement and walked over to my parents and told them. It was just great, and we were all really excited! I got to call my grandma and my uncle was there—and he’s a die-hard Carolina fan. We were just celebrating. It just felt like the culmination of everything that I’ve been able to do finally came to fruition and everything that I’ve been involved in had paid off,” Attaway said.

On top of the life-altering news, he won the wrestling match in a decision. It was an amazing day to say the least.

“I was basically on cloud nine the rest of the day. It made everything seem easier. I was just having the best time of my life that day.”

Attaway’s list of academic accomplishments, and recognition of community service roles over the course of his years in high school, is truly impressive.

In addition to the rigors of academics, Attaway serves as Rockingham County High School’s Student Body Vice President and is a member of the National Honor Society while maintaining a 4.7 GPA.

Attaway began taking college level courses during his sophomore year of high school through the dual enrollment program at Rockingham Community College and will graduate from high school with an associate degree.

In addition to his challenging academic load, he became very active in a vast variety of community service roles, including being a member of the Rockingham County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. Attaway was also a two-sport varsity athlete at Rockingham as a football player and captain during his final two seasons on the Cougars’ wrestling team.

It’s a rigorous balancing act that has served Attaway well and taught him how to manage a tremendous number of responsibilities simultaneously.

He played right tackle on the offensive line on last season’s 7-4 football team that made it to the 2023 3A NCHSAA state playoffs. Attaway was a key member of a front five that helped quarterback Brice Baker amass over 1,000 yards rushing and passing.

Attaway also played defensive end on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

Former Cougars head football coach Brad Baker said he realized early on Attaway was a player that would bring his best, no matter the circumstances, every single day.

“When you think offensive linemen, you think big, huge guys. He wasn’t, but he played like a big, huge guy. We knew we could always count on him. As smart as he is in the classroom, he was that smart on the football field as well,” said Baker.

On top of all of his responsibilities, he still finds time to work part-time at PG’s Chicken & Biscuits in Reidsville on weekends, holidays and during the summer months, always with a smile on his face and a positive attitude that lifts others around him.

“Over the years, I’ve really learned how to be more efficient with time management, how to balance my schedule and ask people for help when I need it. I really learned to hone-in and do things as efficiently as possible,” said Attaway.

Joining a proud UNC-Chapel Hill tradition

The foundation was established by John Motley Morehead III, an alumni from the UNC-Chapel Hill class of 1891. Morehead was a renowned industrial scientist, businessman, philanthropist and former United States Minister to Sweden.

He created the foundation to foster continued excellence at not only UNC-Chapel Hill, but to make valuable contributions to the world at-large as well.

The first Morehead Scholarships were awarded in 1951. In 2007, the Morehead Foundation announced a $100 million gift from the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation. The UNC organization was renamed for both donors and rechristened as the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Foundation to ensure excellence for generations to come.

Past recipients of the Morehead Scholarship include United States ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners, members of Congress, corporate CEOs and former North Carolina Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Jim Exum.

Attaway said he plans to continue to keep his shoulder to the wheel at Carolina to take full advantage of this amazing opportunity that will shape the next chapter of his life.

While involved in the RCC dual enrollment program, Attaway started to focus on, and develop, a love of technology-based studies, which he plans to continue at Carolina. He also has an interest in health care and bio-medical fields. Attaway said he believes those two academic fields can coexist, and he is looking for a career where he can use his many talents to continue to make positive contributions to the world.

He’s not exactly sure what he will do professionally when he does enter the working world, but if his history to-date is any indication, expect excellence.


Rockingham Community College
PO Box 38
215 Wrenn Memorial Rd.
Wentworth, NC 27375


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