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Gates Millennium Scholarship Essays Winners Of Dancing

A record 28 Oregon students, including 11 from Portland-area schools, have won prestigious full-ride Gates Millennium Scholarships designed to allow the nation's most promising low-income minority students to attend college and graduate school for free.

The winners, announced Friday, include an Ethiopian immigrant who didn't start learning English until age 14 and a football team captain whose work tutoring freshmen showed "the patience of a saint." Many are immigrants who learned English as their second language and now read and write it with exceptional skill.

They are among just 1,000 students chosen nationwide from more than 52,000 who applied. The scholarships can easily exceed $200,000 in value.

Woodburn and Madras high schools each had three winners, and Reynolds High and Portland's Roosevelt High each had two.

Hawi HussenRoosevelt High

The Roosevelt winners are Isaac Kelly and Hawi Hussen. Hussen, who immigrated from Ethopia, arrived bilingual in Oromo and Amharic and, at 14, quickly learned English, said vice principal Elisa Schorr. Hussen has taken extremely rigorous courses at Roosevelt, including multiple Advanced Placement classes. She is headed to Oregon State University and hopes to become a doctor, Schorr said.

Kelly is a true intellect and scholar who challenges himself, says his counselor, Laurel Auda-Capel. None of his brothers or sisters has graduated from high school, and he "has really chosen to take a different route from the rest of his family," Auda-Capel said.

Isaac Kelly Roosevelt High 

"His teachers tell me he is incredibly brilliant, and I have never read writing by a high school student like his," she said.

Science is his passion, she said. He pushed a teacher to create an honors biology option just for him "so he could do extra work beyond what was expected of the rest of the class," she said. He spent three weeks in a college-level, lecture-based science institute at Brown University last summer.

He will likely go to Lehigh University, Auda-Capel said. He said he plans to double major in engineering and philosophy.

Jose Toledo, co-captain of the Century High football team, is the lone winner from the Hillsboro school district this year. Adults who know him call him a natural at mentoring younger people and say his work ethic is outstanding.

Jose ToledoCentury High 

"He is truly one of the kindest people you will ever meet" and "has the patience of a saint" when tutoring freshmen, said teacher Heather Zehr. "Kids request Jose for every tutorial we have. He acts as a mentor to all of my kids. Jose Toledo is exactly what Century High School wants to send out into the world."

Varsity football coach Bill Smith said of Toledo: "Jose would be the first to help a young player. Jose would stay late after practice to work on a perceived deficiency.  Jose was selected as a team captain because he is universally respected. You cannot find anyone who can say anything negative about Jose -- just a quality, hard working young man."

Vianey JimenezReynolds High Key Club 

Reynolds' two winners are Vianey Jimenez and Alexander Nguyen.

Jimenez transferred to Reynolds from California her junior year and jumped right in to leadership roles at the school, from making videos for the school's closed-circuit TV network to becoming an officer of the school service club and president of the Latino club.

She has taken numerous AP classes, said social studies and college readiness teacher Teresa Osborne.

"She is interested in business and entrepreneurship," Osborne said. "She sees herself creating and running a company."

She was accepted to numerous selective schools and is leaning toward attending the University of San Francisco, Osborne said.

Alexander Nguyen, who friends call Alex, speaks Vietnamese and English and is studying Japanese. He has done extensive community service with the school's Japanese club, working on Sister City efforts between Gresham and Ebetsu, Japan, and in the city's Japanese garden, Osborne said.

He has taken AP classes, including on European history and U.S. government, and asks a lot of questions to gain a deep understanding, Osborne said. "He is a hard-working student. He tries to really grab ahold of concepts."

He is leaning toward attending the University of Washington, she said.

"They are both really really fine young people. They have good hearts," Osborne said. "They are both kind and generous individuals, and I am really proud of them."

Minh NguyenDavid Douglas High 

Minh Nguyen, leader of David Douglas High School's winning rocketry team, also won a Millennium Scholarship. Born in Vietnam, Nguyen arrived in Portland late in elementary school knowing no English, said her counselor, Denise Riesenman.

This is Riesenman's 35th year on the job, and she says "Minh is one of the most amazing kids I have ever met. She pushes herself way beyond expectations."

"She is a science girl right down the pike," Riesenman said. "And some of the essays she writes just knock your socks off."

She has done summer science internships in California and at Oregon Health & Science University. She will attend Yale in the fall and, not surprisingly, will major in science, Riesenman said.

"She is the sweetest girl. She helps everybody. She catches on to things to quickly and then mentors other kids. There is just nothing that is a negative about her."

Jose Zarco RodriguezAloha High 

Aloha High senior Jose Zarco Rodriguez, born in the U.S. but raised in Mexico, left his parents' home in that country to live in Hillsboro with his sister and her husband beginning in his freshman year of high school.

He arrived with almost no English skills but advanced to proficient by January of his sophomore year. He has maintained a 4.0 grade average while taking AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Spanish, AP Microeconomics, AP English Language and pre-calculus.

He had to rapidly grow from child to man when he  moved away from his parents at age 15, says his teacher, Helen Lovgren. The past three summers, he has worked in the fields, harvesting fruit and vegetables and caring for nursery stock. He also volunteered as a counselor at a day camp for younger students, tutors fellow Aloha High students and used his bilingual skills to help at a Spanish-speaking health clinic.

"Because of his intelligence, perseverance and strong commitment to goals, he has met the challenges of becoming an adult before his time," Lovgren said. "This young man is mature beyond his years and aware of his responsibilities to his family--his parents in Mexico and his sister and brother-in-law in Oregon."

Until he won the Gates scholarship, he had planned to work full time after high school while attending Portland Community College so his brother-in-law would no longer have to support him.

He now plans to go to a four-year school and hopes to become a civil or environmental engineer.

Anabel Moreno-MendezInterMoutain ESD 

The valedictorian at Umatilla High School, Anabel Moreno-Mendez, also won a full ride to college. One of five children, she has attended Umatilla schools since kindergarten and learned English as her second language.

Moreno-Mendez has taken all of the advanced courses her high school offers, including honors and AP. She took part in Battle of the Books and math competitions, played goal keeper on the soccer team, ran track and was on the robotics team.

Her school counselor, Dee Lorence, calls her "very naturally curious, inquisitive and determined." She will likely attend Dartmouth and plans to major in international business or cognitive science.

Franklin High senior Ahmed Gedi won a Gates scholarship, as did his older sister, Mako. Born in Syria to Somali parents, Gedi came to Portland as a refugee when he was about 4. He still speaks Somali at home, but has learned English and numerous computer programming languages, too.

Last year, Oregon had 21 winners.

Funded by $1.6 billion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Millennium Scholars program selects 1,000 top low-income students each year and agrees to pay all their unmet financial need to attend any college they choose.

The program also provides winners with leadership development opportunities, mentoring, and academic and social support.

Winners also can have their graduate school paid for if they study computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. All the Gates scholars receive mentoring and leadership training, and so far, 87 percent of participants have earned undergraduate degrees.

Oregon's other winners are:

Madison High, Portland: Nhu Do.

Centennial High: Siva Ho.

Gabriel Guttierez-AragonDe La Salle North School 

De La Salle North Catholic School, Portland: Gabriel Gutierrez-Aragon

Woodburn High: Giselle Lopez Ixta, Jay Patel and Yoanna Barajas Hernandez

Madras High: Jazmine Ike-Lopez, Gabrielle Morales and Stephanie Olivera.

Burns High: Jon Caponetto

Churchill High, Eugene: Bella Anglin

Sheldon High, Eugene: Jada Allender

Corvallis High: Erikjone Cruz

McKay High, Salem: Jovani Corona-Quevedo

South Salem High: Leone Davila

McMinnville High: Juan Cortes Perez

Springfield High: Carolyn Ruiz-Moreno

Willamette High, Eugene: Yasmeen Pelayo

Willamina High: Shane Thomas

-- Betsy Hammond

503-294-7623; @chalkup

This article is about scholarship as a form of financial aid. For the practice and method of scholars, see Scholarly method. For the international education program, see The Scholar Ship.

Not to be confused with Scholarism or Scholasticism.

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarship money is not required to be repaid.[1]

Scholarships vs. grants[edit]

While the terms are frequently used interchangeably, there is a difference. Scholarships may have a financial need component but rely on other criteria as well.

  • Academic Scholarships typically use a minimum Grade Point Average or standardized test score such as the ACT or SAT to select awardees.
  • Athletic Scholarships are generally based on athletic performance of a student and used as a tool to recruit high-performing athletes for their school's athletic teams.
  • Merit Scholarships can be based on a number of criteria, including performance in a particular school subject or even club participation or community service.

Grants, however, are offered based exclusively on financial need and determined using the applicant's FAFSA information.[2]


The most common scholarships may be classified as:

  • Merit-based: These awards are based on a student's academic, artistic, athletic or other abilities, and often factor in an applicant's extracurricular activities and community service record. The most common merit-based scholarships, awarded by either private organizations or directly by a student's intended college, recognize academic achievement or high scores on standardized tests. Most such merit-based scholarships are paid directly by the institution the student attends, rather than issued directly to the student.[3]
  • Need-based: Some private need-based awards are confusingly called scholarships, and require the results of a FAFSA (the family's EFC). However, scholarships are often merit-based, while grants tend to be need-based.[4]
  • Student-specific: These are scholarships for which applicants must initially qualify based upon gender, race, religion, family, and medical history, or many other student-specific factors. Minority scholarships are the most common awards in this category.[citation needed] For example, students in Canada may qualify for a number of aboriginal scholarships, whether they study at home or abroad.[citation needed] The Gates Millennium Scholars program is another minority scholarship funded by Bill and Melinda Gates for excellent African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific Islander American and Latino students who enroll in college.[5]
  • Career-specific: These are scholarships a college or university awards to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study. Often, the most generous awards to students who pursue careers in high-need areas such as education or nursing. Many schools in the United States give future nurses full scholarships to enter the field, especially if the student intends to work in a high-need community.
  • College-specific: College-specific scholarships are offered by individual colleges and universities to highly qualified applicants. These scholarships are given on the basis of academic and personal achievement. Some scholarships have a "bond" requirement.[6] Recipients may be required to work for a particular employer for a specified period of time or to work in rural or remote areas; otherwise, they may be required to repay the value of the support they received from the scholarship.[7] This is particularly the case with education and nursing scholarships for people prepared to work in rural and remote areas. The programs offered by the uniformed services of the United States (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissioned corps, and Public Health Service Commissioned Corps) sometimes resemble such scholarships.
  • Athletic: Awarded to students with exceptional skill in a sport. Often this is so that the student will be available to attend the school or college and play the sport on their team, although in some countries government funded sports scholarships are available, allowing scholarship holders to train for international representation.[8][9] School-based athletics scholarships can be controversial, as some believe that awarding scholarship money for athletic rather than academic or intellectual purposes is not in the institution's best interest.[10]
  • Brand Scholarships: These scholarships are sponsored by a brand that is trying to gain attention to their brand, or a cause. Sometimes these scholarships are referred to as branded scholarships. The Miss America beauty pageant is the most famous example of a brand scholarship.
  • Creative Contest Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students based on a creative submission. Contest scholarships are also called mini project based scholarships where students can submit entries based on unqiue and innovative ideas.[11]

Of increasing interest in the United States are "last dollar" scholarships. These can be provided by private and government-based institutions, and are intended to cover the remaining fees charged to a student after the various grants are taken into account.[12] To prohibit institutions from taking last dollar scholarships into account, and thereby removing other sources of funding, these scholarships are not offered until after financial aid has been offered in the form of a letter. Furthermore, last dollar scholarships may require families to have filed taxes for the most recent year; received their other sources of financial aid; and not yet received loans.


It is typical for people to find scholarships in their home regions. Information on these can be found by asking local institutions and organizations. Typically, these are less competitive as the eligible population is smaller.

  • Guidance counselors: When starting to explore scholarship opportunities, most high school students check with their guidance counselors. They can be a reliable resource for local scholarships.
  • Non-profits and charitable trusts: Most non-profit organizations have at some point of their history founded scholarships for prospective students. The Good Schools Guide, a guide to schools in the UK, states "Charitable grant-making trusts can help in cases of genuine need," and goes on to outline several instances where this may be the case, including an "unforeseen family disaster" and a "need for special education".
  • Community foundations: Many counties and cities and regions have a local foundation dedicated to giving money in the form of grants and scholarships to people and organizations in the area.
  • Music teachers: Some music teachers offer reduced-cost or free lessons to help low-income children gain access to an arts education. In addition, some local non-profits provide free music classes to youths.
  • Foundations: Certain foundations in the United States offer scholarships for entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Labor/trade unions: Major unions often offer scholarships for members and their dependent children.[citation needed]
  • Houses of worship: The local house of worship may or may not have any scholarships for their members, but the religious organization or headquarters may have some available. Theology study is highly encouraged.
  • Chamber of commerce: Many chambers of commerce offer (usually small) grants to students in the community, especially those planning on careers in business and public service. Even if they do not offer any themselves, one can usually get a listing of members, and many of them may offer small scholarships to local students.
  • Other volunteer organizations: Many organizations offer scholarships or award grants to students whose background or chosen field overlaps the field of the organization. For example, local chapters of professional societies may help the studies of exceptionally distinguished students of the region. Similarly, charity organizations may offer help, especially if the late parent of the student was a member of the organization (e.g., a Masonic lodge might help the orphan of a lodge brother.) This kind of scholarship is mostly ad hoc.
  • School: Old, well-known schools are often endowed with scholarship funds.
  • University: Old, well-established universities may have funds to finance the studies of extremely talented students of little means. Eligibility often requires that a student belong to some special category or be among a nation's best. However, universities provide information on scholarships and grants, possibly even internship opportunities.
  • PSAT/NMSQT: In the United States, students are offered the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT test, usually in their junior year of high school. National Merit Scholarship programs are initially determined by the scores received on the PSAT/NMSQT test. Some private scholarship programs require applicants to take the PSAT. The test can be used as preparation for the SAT.
  • Enrichment Centres: In certain countries, enrichment centers have begun to provide scholarships.[13]
  • Disabilities: Students with disabilities may be able to apply for awards intended for people with disabilities. Those scholarships may be intended for disabled students in general, or in relation to a specific disability.[14]


It has become more prevalent today that scholarships are misconceived[by whom?] to have a discriminatory quality to them. For example, as demonstrated by student-specific scholarships, minorities are thought to have a priority over Caucasian students when it comes to receiving these[which?] scholarships.[citation needed]

These beliefs are known to come from college students themselves who have been affected by their failures at obtaining adequate financial aid.[citation needed] Mark Kantrowitz, author of "Secrets to Winning a Scholarship", explains that the average family tends to overestimate its student's eligibility for merit-based awards and underestimate its eligibility for need-based awards. In turn, the most persistent target of this disapproval tends to be high-profile, minority-based scholarships.[15]

Most scholarships are based on merit or talent, without considering economic need or ethnicity. Since the economically privileged usually have better schools and more access to other educational resources, merit-based awards favor the economically privileged. While Caucasians account for 62% of full-time college students in America,[16] they receive 76% of all scholarships.[17]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • DiFiore, Laura, et al. "Tips on Finding Scholarships." FreSch! Free Scholarship Search. 2013.
  • Martin, Michel. "Scholarships: Who Gets Them and Why?" Tell me More 17
  1. ^Peterson, Kay (4 September 2008). "Financial Aid Glossary". fastweb. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Loans Vs Grants Vs Scholarships -". Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  3. ^"College Scholarship". School Grants Guide. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^"The Gates Millennium Scholars". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  6. ^Teng, Amelia. "Many slam A*Star scientist's protest against her scholarship bond". ST. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  7. ^"Dancing out of A*Star". Retrieved 15 December 2014. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^Talented Athlete Scholarship, UK Government. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  9. ^"The scholarship", Winning Students. Government of Scotland. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  10. ^Bruenig, Matt. (March 31, 2014). "
    • Music Scholarships: Some people receive scholarships for excellence in music, often taking into account their academic capacity. Some academic scholarships take into account music.
    • Old Boy/Girl Scholarships: At some schools, there are special scholarships set aside for children or grandchildren of people who previously attended the school.
    Ralph Nader’s brilliant plan for college sports: No more concussions or exploited labor", Salon. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  11. ^Scholarshipfellow (March 24, 2017). "Contest Scholarships", Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  12. ^Kelchen, Robert. (April 17, 2014). "The Political Attractiveness of "Last-Dollar" Scholarships", Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  13. ^Janice Heng (Sep 9, 2008). "Bond Free". THE STRAITS TIMES. Retrieved Sep 9, 2008. 
  14. ^"Bipolar Lives Scholarship". Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  15. ^"Scholarship – WHM large Civil movement and HM scholarship". 
  16. ^"Table 2-1. Undergraduate enrollment at all institutions, by race/ethnicity, citizenship, sex, and enrollment status: 2001–08"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on September 4, 2011. 
  17. ^Kantrowitz, Mark. "The Distribution of Grants and Scholarships by Race"(PDF). Student Aid Policy Analysis. Retrieved 20 September 2012.