One of the One Thousand Gates Millennium Scholars

Wed, 07/01/2009 - 10:27am
By: The Citizen

An Educational Chance of a Lifetime

One of the One Thousand Gates Millennium Scholars

At Whitewater High School, a student worked hard for the past four years and held many leadership positions such as Co-Head Editor of the Vision Yearbook Staff, Co-President of Beta Club, and various other jobs like a volunteer or tutor while maintaining a 4.0 G.P.A . and taking a challenging course workload. She has been preparing herself for something great when she heard about the Gates Millennium Foundation during her sophomore year.

During January of her senior year, Jonae’ Felton applied for the Gates Millennium Scholarship with Mrs. Awilda Cruz as her nominator and Mrs. Cheryll Thompson-Smith as her recommender. The application process was difficult and scared away many students who noticed that the paper application was 42 pages long with eight essays. However, Ms. Felton tackled the task, and with the guidance and help of her mother Wendy Felton, counselor Mrs. Cruz, and past English teacher Mrs. Thompson-Smith, she took a chance and was named a finalist.

After many more forms and confirmations were sent in for review, Ms. Felton received a large packet on around April 15 that notified her that she was selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar. This year, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program attracted over 20,500 applicants. It is a distinct honor that she is recognized as one of the 1,000 Gates Millennium Scholars for the GMS Class of 2009, the program’s 10th anniversary class. She was commended for her strong leadership, community service and academic achievements that have distinguished her as a leader.

As a Gates Millennium Scholar, Ms. Felton is able to attend any U.S. school, and GMS will cover the cost of attendance. Since Ms. Felton has decided to major in electrical engineering at Tuskegee University in Alabama, she has the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the field of engineering because the GSM fellowship can fund her education through masters and doctoral levels. Additionally, Ms. Felton has decided to strive for a Masters, Doctorate, and even a law degree in order for her to become an intellectual property attorney.

The GMS program is much more than a scholarship. The Leadership and Scholar Relations programs offer Academic Empowerment services (ACE) to support your academic success and graduate planning. In addition, the GMS program will provide her with a wide range of resources that can maximize her GMS and college experience.

On Monday, June 15, 2009, the Fayette County Board of Education recognized her for her achievement and awarded her a certificate. Ms. Felton stated, “I am truly honored and blessed that I received this scholarship because it would not have been possible without all the wonderful people around me who guided me towards greatness. As I think about how much more time I will spend in school, roughly 10 to 12 years, I tell myself that the time will fly by in a blink of an eye, I hope, and I thank God that I have people around me who tell me to take one step at a time.”

On this educational chance of a lifetime, the board congratulates Ms. Felton on being selected for this award, and Ms. Felton thanked them in return and stated, “Thank you mom, Mrs. Thompson-Smith, Mrs. Cruz, Dr. DeCotis, and many others because without you all I probably would not be so blessed.” To the best of knowledge, Ms. Felton is the only Gates Scholar from Fayette County, and she hopes that in the future there will be more willing to tackle the application process, and she is glad to help anyone who wants guidance or speak at any events as a Gates Scholar who wishes for others to succeed with her.

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