Students selected from over 50,000 nationwide applicants
El Paso, Texas, April 21, 2016:
The Cathedral High School Center for Advanced Studies is excited to announce that 14 of its students have been named 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS). Cathedral High School will be honoring these record-setting 14 students at an academic awards assembly from 1:50 – 2:25 pm on Monday, April 25, 2016, in the Houghton Multi-Purpose Building, located at 1309 N. Stanton Street, El Paso, Texas.
The Cathedral students named 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars are Daniel Barrio, Sebastian DeLaCruz, Daniel Fernandez, Cesar Garcia, Matthew Hallmark, Pablo Herrera, Sebastian Horcasitas, Anthony Nava, Esteban Orozco, Cameron Paredes, Victor Portillo, Tony Reynoso, Roberto Ruiz, and Fabian Yepo.
The goal of GMS, which was created in 1999 with a $1 billion grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students to reach their highest potential. The students were selected from a national applicant pool of students who demonstrated financial need, the highest academic standards, innovative community service and exceptional leadership qualities.
This is the final year for new Gates Scholars to be named. This year’s 14 winners, all of whom are El Paso Community College Dual-Credit Students, bring Cathedral High School’s total number of Gates Millennium Scholars to 59 since 2009.
Marco Ortigoza ’08, Director of the Center for Advanced Studies, credits the Writing Symposium for much of the success. “Students and adults essentially used all but four days of their Christmas break to work on their application. We guided them but the students did the hard work of finding their voice to tell their unique story. It’s a highly empowering experience. You’re a winner for having the experience; regardless of whether or not you’re selected.
“The Writing Symposium is a reflection of our Lasallian tradition of caring for each other. Almost all of the mentors were alumni: Dr. Joseph Viescas ’96, Luis Lujan ’66, Mario Vazquez ’09, and Jose Yanez. Many Gates Scholars already in college made it a point to come to encourage and help with editing. This is truly the legacy of Chief Justice Richard Barajas ’71 who realized that this life-changing scholarship was within the reach of our students,” noted Brother Nick Gonzalez ’80, president of Cathedral High School.
Saint Mary’s College of California, a Lasallian institution, also contributed to the Writing Symposium. Both schools have partnered for the past four years to provide two volunteer college students to assist Cathedral applicants with editing and organizing. Meg Birgen and Maddi Larsen were this year’s collegiate volunteers.
The Center for Advanced Studies serves as the coordinating point for all higher education opportunities available to its students and parents. In addition to providing college-level assessments for enrollment, the Center, in conjunction with the El Paso Community College, enables eligible students the opportunity to take affordable, high quality, college core courses prior to graduation from high school. The program also allows for enrichment and extension of the Cathedral High School curriculum and avoidance of unnecessary duplication in course work as students move from high school to college. A marquee of the Center is its unique annual Winter Writing Symposium for students which is focused exclusively on the preparation and submission of the students’ applications for the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program annually selects 1,000 students nationwide to receive a scholarship for use at the college or university of their choice and complete their college education in any discipline they choose. Continuing Gates Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The program provides Scholars with personal and professional development through leadership programs and academic support. In addition to meeting unmet costs of higher education, a GMS Scholarship provides recipients with access to leadership development programs with the implicit goal of becoming agents of change in their respective communities.