Wichita North High School senior Rogelio Martinez was one of the recipients of the Gates Scholarship, and is looking forward to attending Newman University on his journey to become a neurosurgeon.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship, established in 1999 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, isn't an easy one to win. Martinez was one of 1,000 recipients, but there were more than fifty times as many applicants. Each recipient receives a full scholarship to the university of their choice.
The Newman incoming freshman feels blessed to have this opportunity and says it will help his family tremendously. Martinez and his girlfriend are the parents of a two-year old son, and this lifts a huge financial burden from their plates.
Martinez told KWCH Eyewitness News, "It's really big for us financially because as a teenage family we have to work and have to do other things in order to meet the needs for our family, and not having to worry about tuition and books and fees and all that is really helpful."
In order to be considered for the Gates Scholarship, one of the requirements was for Martinez to write around nine essays with a limit of 1,000 words each. The process took him six months in total.
The many determining factors include having a completed student application, nominations and recommendations as well as being evaluated on attributes like academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.
Martinez also told a KWCH reporter, "Whenever the road looks down, there's always hope for a better outcome which usually takes yourself and a really great support system which is needed in order to succeed in life." He added, "I'm just thankful for everybody who has helped me along the way."