Wayland-Cohocton student wins SUNY scholarship through vaccination incentive

Isabella Wolcott one of ten young New Yorkers selected in random drawing

Neal Simon
The Evening Tribune

Wayland-Cohocton seventh-grade student Isabella Wolcott took a shot at winning a free college education, and the attempt paid off in a big way.

The 13-year-old from Wayland, who goes by “Izzy,” was one of the 10 second-round winners in the New York State Vaccination Scholarship Incentive, the governor’s office announced June 10.

The daughter of Christina and Justin Wolcott, Izzy will receive a full scholarship to any New York public college or university, covering both tuition and room and board.

Izzy is the first Steuben County student to snag the prize.

Isabella Wolcott, a 13-year-old seventh-grade student at Wayland-Cohocton Central School, was one of the ten second-round winners in the New York State Vaccination Scholarship Incentive. "Izzy," as she is known at Way-Co, will receive a full scholarship to any New York State public college or university, including tuition, room and board.

“I was really surprised. I didn’t expect to actually win. I was really excited," Izzy said of learning the news.

She went to a Wayland CVS pharmacy in May for a vaccination.

As a seventh-grader, Izzy has plenty of time to decide what studies she will pursue when she becomes a college student — a role she previously didn't necessarily envision for herself.

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“It definitely changes how I thought about (college)," she said. "I never really thought about it before this, but now it’s the only thing I think about.”

Mom Christina Wolcott agreed, saying the good fortune has definitely changed her daughter's perspective.

She said, “The hope was there that she would go. She never talked very enthusiastically about it beforehand, but as soon as she heard about the win, it just changed her whole thought process. She was suddenly very excited about going.” 

In the meantime, Izzy and her family are looking forward to the opportunity, knowing her undergraduate expenses will be covered.

New York state is administering the random drawing and selecting 10 winners a week over five weeks, ending July 7. Three more rounds of winners will be randomly selected before the vaccine promotion concludes.

All vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds in New York state are eligible for the incentive. All they have to do is get the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and then have a parent or guardian register for upcoming drawings on the state's website for the program.

Izzy has an older brother and an older sister. The soon to be eighth-grader's interests include art and gymnastics. She's also very interested in life returning to normal, which was the deciding factor when it came to getting vaccinated.

“My original thought was I wasn’t going to get it, then I decided to get it,” she said. “I wanted everything to go back to normal, and I didn’t want to wear a mask anymore.

“I haven’t really shared (my opinion) publicly, but I would just tell everyone to get (vaccinated) because hopefully everything will go back to normal quicker.”

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