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La Follette High School Senior Receives Gates Scholarship

Kylie Jacobs and Abriela Thiel | NBC 15 WMTV

A high school senior at La Follette high school was one of 300 students who was awarded a Gates Scholarship.

A Gates scholarship is a highly selective scholarship for outstanding, minority high school seniors from low-income households. The intent of the scholarship, according to the foundation is to “help them realize their maximum potential.”

Andrew West - who was one of 300 throughout the country chosen - will get the opportunity to receive the full cost of attendance that isn’t already covered by other financial aid at whatever college or university he chooses.

To apply for this scholarship, students had to be a high school senior, Pell Grant eligible, a U.S. citizen, in good academic standing with a minimum of a 3.3 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), and from at least one of the following ethnicities: African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American.

West said the application process was intense, but finding out he was selected took a lot of weight off his shoulders.

“I was excited. I was so thrilled. I remember I found out, I was shocked though, so I was extremely shocked. I was like, ‘Oh my God there’s no way out of all of the people who applied to this scholarship I was one of the ones who got it,’” West said.

The Gates Scholarships states that their ideal candidate will have an outstanding academic record in high school, demonstrated leadership ability, and exceptional personal success skills.

The student must also plan to enroll full-time in a four-year degree program at a U.S. accredited, not-for-profit private or public college or university. The scholarship will fund for five years, where it is expected that the student will complete their bachelor’s degree.

Mentors and administrators said they have watched West grow and mature over the years and are overwhelmed with happiness and pride.

“He came up, said, ‘I got something to tell you.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘I got the Gates Foundation Scholarship.’ I screamed and started dancing like I was at church. I was so happy, and I’m trying to hold back tears, but he worked so hard for it,” Multi-cultural service coordinator Johnnie Milton Jr. said.

Prior to receiving the scholarship, West had already received a full-ride scholarship to UW-Madison and was planning to attend. He is now choosing between a few schools that are out of the state.

Any additional information can be found on their website.

This content was originally published by NBC 15 on April 25, 2022. To view the full story on their website, please click here.

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