Two win Rhodes Scholarships

Thursday, December 13, 2001

When Stephen Sachs of Clayton found out he won a Rhodes Scholarship, he did something most college kids do when they need money, not after they've gotten it. He called his parents.

And those who saw Christopher Elders of Kansas City display the skills that won him national debate honors in high school are not surprised he's also won a free-ride to Oxford University.

The two Missourians were among 32 American students who last week won the prestigious honors. They both have their eyes on law school after finishing their studies at Oxford.

"Obviously, I felt very fortunate to be selected," Sachs, 22, said Sunday afternoon from Boston, shortly after the Rhodes Scholarship Trust officially announced 32 winners. "I had hoped for a long time to study in England and applied for different fellowships to get that chance. Getting this is great."

Sachs, now a senior at Harvard University, said he plans to participate in an interdisciplinary program of philosophy, politics and economics.

Elders, 21, a senior political science major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, expects to study international relations when he starts at Oxford next September, said his mother, Judy Elders.

Elders, who was studying for final exams, was not available for comment.

"I'm not surprised" that he's won, said James Morrill, Elders' debate coach at Raytown South High School, just outside Kansas City. "He's an intelligent individual and seemed years ahead of where a student would have been. ... To hear the thoughts and ideas come out of him was amazing."

Elders was third in the nation in two events in high school debate, Morrill said. Sachs also debated in high school and was editor of the school newspaper while earning selection as a National Merit Scholar.

Both have been busy in college, working for the federal government in Washington.

The Rhodes scholarship was created in 1902 from the will of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes and is the oldest international study award available to American scholars.

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