By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Kenwood Academy High School seniors Khensura LoveEl, Amber Cowan, Kyra Kemp, Ibtihal Elfaki and Quinasia Douglas are recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The Gates Millennium Scholars program was established through partnerships between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and The American Indian Graduate Center Scholars to reduce financial barriers for African American, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native and Asian Pacific Islander American students and increase the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are underrepresented.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice, according to the programs website.
Each year, roughly 50,000 African American, Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Native American students apply for the 1,000 Gates Scholarships, according to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Recipients have a 3.3 minimum grade point average, and are selected because of their community service, leadership and ability to complete a challenging application that includes answering eight different essay questions. Students are also nominated by an educator and receive community recommendations about their contributions outside the classroom.
The full value of a Gates Scholarship could be worth more than $250,000, depending on where a student decides to enroll in college and whether they choose to pursue a masters or doctoral degree, according to CPS. The scholarship pays the balance between what the family can afford and the total cost of tuition.
LoveEl plans to attend Moorehouse in Atlanta. Cowan, Douglas and Kemp plan to attend Spelman in Atlanta, and Elfaki plans to attend Brown University in Rhode Island.
This year, 44 students from 26 Chicago Public High Schools received Gates Millennium Scholarships setting a school district record and for the fifth time in the past six years, CPS has more recipients than any other school district in the nation.
The full list of Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients is posted on the Gates Millennium Scholars website at gmsp.org.