Southern Wayne High School student earns Gates Scholarship
By From staff reports
Published in News on April 25, 2013 1:46 PM
Santos Saldivar is the first recipient from Southern Wayne High School of the Gates Millennium Scholarship. He is one of 1,000 students from across the nation to receive the scholarship, which provides a full ride to the college of his choice and will also pay for graduate school.
DUDLEY -- A local high school senior will become the first member of his family to go to college, thanks to the United Negro College Fund's Gates Millennium Scholarship program.
Santos Saldivar is the first recipient from Southern Wayne High School to receive the award, the seventh recipient from the Wayne County Public Schools.
School officials announced Wednesday that Saldivar is among 1,000 students across the country to receive the scholarship, which will pay for his undergraduate degree as well as any post-graduate studies if he chooses to continue his education.
He plans to attend Campbell University and major in biochemstry and hopes to attend pharmacy school. The Gates award will pay for tuition, room and board, books, laptops or other required equipment, and any study abroad programs. It also provides additional academic and personal growth opportunities through the Gates Leadership Program.
An estimated 54,000 students applied for the scholarship. Recipients represent all 50 states and five outlying regions.
Saldivar said he was notified over the weekend that he was among the winners.
"My mom brought me this letter, and I was really nervous opening it," he said. "When I saw the word 'Congratulations,' I started yelling and jumping up and down. My parents were there, and they started hugging me."
Established in 1999 with the goal of developing the next generation of America's leaders, the scholarship program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scholarships are awarded to incoming college freshmen who have demonstrated academic achievement in the classroom and shown leadership skills through service to their communities.
Saldivar is active in his school's National Honor Society and student government association. He has been involved in several service projects throughout high school. He was also the captain of the school's football team and is in the top 10 of his graduating class.
"My parents came from Mexico to give me a better future," he said. "I have attended schools in Wayne County since kindergarten and my parents, especially my dad, pushed me to do my best and make the most of the opportunities that were available to me.
"I know my parents did not have the money to send me to college, and this scholarship is as much a relief to them as it is to me."
The first five recipients from Wayne County, representing Goldsboro High School, included Hameka Canady (2006), Tremaine Rawls (2007), Teddy Howell (2008), Lakiyah Campbell (2010) and Zacchia Cobb (2012). Marques McPhail, also a 2012 recipient, attended Eastern Wayne High School.