To be singled out among 57,000 of the nation’s high school graduates as a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship is a monumental accomplishment for any student. Even more impressive is to have seven students from one school district chosen among this coveted group.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program recently announced that seven Dallas ISD students were selected to receive full scholarships to any accredited college or university of their choice located in the U.S. The scholarships are good through graduation, meaning they are renewable based on program guidelines throughout a student’s higher educational pursuits—from the undergraduate to the master and doctoral levels.
The seven students are: Mang Lian, Sung Mawi, and Tika Acharya, all from Emmett J. Conrad High School; Dominique James from Bryans Adams High School; Frank Byers Jr. from South Oak Cliff High School; Victoria Lennox from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and Kenneth Robinson, Justin F. Kimball High School.
The Gates program selected 1,000 outstanding graduates from across the country to be part of the 2015 GMS Class. Each student completed an extensive application process and are now eligible to participate in a number of programs and activities, including a leadership conference for freshmen, academic support throughout college, graduate school planning, mentoring and more.
More about the scholars:
Tika Acharya spent the majority of his life in a refugee camp in Nepal without electricity and indoor plumbing. Today, he is the current salutatorian of his senior class and involved in a number of activities at Conrad High School, including tutoring young students as well as older refugees in his neighborhood. He plans to pursue a degree in engineering and business.
Sung Mawi grew up in Burma before she had to flee to Malaysia where she worked 13 hour shifts in a factory. Now, in the top 7 percent of her class at Conrad, she a leader inspiring others to excel and seek higher education. She plans to attend college to study accounting.
Before coming to the United States, Mang Lian, who grew up in Myanmar, spent two months traveling through the jungles of Malaysia as he fled Burmese soldiers. Despite having worked more than 100 hours a week in his home country instead of going to school, he moved to the U.S. and learned English in a short time. He is now ranked third in his class at Conrad.
Dominique James is currently ranked as valedictorian at Bryan Adams High School where she is captain of the drill team, a member of the Academic Decathlon team and works part time. Her work at school and in the community exemplifies strong leadership, service and academic achievement. Dominique plans to pursue biomedical engineering.
As a student at South Oak Cliff High School, Frank Byers Jr. is ranked as the valedictorian of his class, a talented athlete, class president, and a member of the National Honor Society among many other accomplishments. He plans to major in petroleum engineering and aspires to be a venture capitalist.
Victoria Lennox is co-chair of the communications committee at Booker T. Washington, a member of the Dallas ISD Teen Board, National Honor Society, and Mu Theta Math Society. She is in the top 13 percent of her class and plans to studying journalism.
Class Valedictorian Kenneth Robinson had to push through the tragic loss of his mother during his freshman year, and while it wasn’t easy, his commitment to leadership and excellence helped fuel his drive to succeed. He served as the highest ranking officer in Justin F. Kimball High School’s ROTC program, president of the school’s National Honor Society, student council, the National Academy of Engineering Advisory Board, and others. He plans to pursue his doctorate in physics to help develop new power sources.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.