Two Lincoln high school students, Siara Demery and Kendra Lopez from the Lincoln Goal Academy, have the opportunity to attend any college in the country that they want with their Gates Millennium Scholarships. This scholarship will cover all costs for attending college, and will even cover costs all the way through a student’s doctorate degree. And, it is rare that two students from the same high school receive a Gates Millennium Scholarship in the same year.
There were nearly 20,500 applicants nationwide and only 1,000 students were selected to receive the scholarship for the class of 2009, according to the scholarship award letter the students received. Students must have attained a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.3 on an unweighted 4.0 scale or have earned a GED. Applicants must also have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities.
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding, low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. They may request funding for a graduate degree program in a limited number of disciplines.
This year, as part of their professional growth plan, the counselors at Lincoln High School chose to work with students applying for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The Lincoln counselors provided students with information and guidance in making sure they had all the support they needed to complete the application process.
”It does make a difference when a team of people work together so students can have an opportunity to tell their story and showcase their academic and personal achievements,” said Martina Iniguez, a Lincoln counselor. Each student was required to have a nominator and recommender. Eleni Hamilton, business/ASB teacher, and Robert Jones, a Lincoln Achievers advisor with the College Success Foundation, worked with Siara Demery. Lora Tacquard, math teacher, and Sheryl Siango, World Vision employee, worked with Kendra Lopez.
“Credit must also be given to John Fraire, vice president of Enrollment Management at Washington State University,” said Iniguez. “Fraire is also a trainer and consultant for the Gates Scholarship program. He worked with us throughout the year, and visited Lincoln several times to meet with us and several of the students on how to prepare and apply for the scholarship.”
“Siara and Kendra are great examples of students who throughout their academic career worked hard and achieved in spite of all the obstacles they faced,” said Iniguez.
Check the Web site for more information on the Gates Millennium Scholars.