Local Kid Wins Prestigious Scholarship!
Press release from South Fork High School:
Local South Fork High School senior Quinn Magpie of Redway has been awarded the prestigious Millennium Gates Scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the United Negro College Fund.
One thousand 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars were selected from 53,000 applicants nationwide and will receive complete funding through four years at the college of their choice. The award may be extended into grad school should the student choose one of the program’s eligible majors.
Established in 1999 with the goal of developing Leaders for America’s Future™, the GMS program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, making it the largest single gift to a scholarship provider. Each year, the program enables more than 5,000 students who must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander or Hispanic American to attend and graduate from more than 1,100 of the most selective private and public schools in the country.
Last winter, Quinn made his way through the difficult and lengthy application process which included writing eight essays on various topics. His essays included his thoughts on leadership, dealing with unfair treatment, personal skills and weaknesses, and aspirations for the future, and reflect his desire to impress the judges with short and meaningful messages that would stick with them. “I imagine the judges to be sitting up at midnight, reading a whole lot of these essays. I wanted to write something inspiring that they would remember.”
In early March he received email notification that he was a finalist. “We were very excited,” says Miranda Parson, Quinn’s mother. “I wasn’t even exactly sure what it meant, but Quinn was pretty sure he was going to get the scholarship at that point.” The family had to obtain a letter verifying his Cheyenne and Arapaho heritage through the tribes of his father and paternal grandmother, provide a high school transcript, and submit a letter proving acceptance to college. In late April Quinn was notified that he was indeed a winner.
Quinn will be attending the University of California at Santa Barbara where he intends to study Linguistics. He may focus his studies on the academics of the field, or he may take a more practical path towards a career in speech pathology. He is fascinated by Asian languages which he says are organized in a way that allows him to utilize his math skills. Speech pathology is a field that interests him as a long time recipient of speech therapy.
Quinn was also accepted at UC Berkeley, considered by some to be a more prestigious school, but chose UCSB for its smaller class sizes, more pleasant campus atmosphere and greater access to professors at the undergrad level. He is looking forward to exploring the many extra-curricular activities available to him. “I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people and to having a fun and active student life.”
Quinn would like to thank his mother, Miranda Parson, for encouraging him when the application process became difficult. “She wouldn’t let me give up.” Family friend Lauren Oliver was one of his recommenders whose contribution he appreciated greatly. His English teacher at South Fork Bill Richards acted as his nominator and was also instrumental in the honing of Quinn’s writing skills and providing invaluable support throughout Quinn’s high school career.
“I also want to give a shout out to Mr. Gummersall,” said Parson. “Quinn had struggled in 9th grade English, but when he got into World History as a sophomore, Mr. Gummersall told him how much he looked forward to reading his work. That was the first time a teacher told him how smart he was, and he really began to believe in himself then.”
Quinn will also be honored at this year’s North Coast Forest Industry’s High Climber Luncheon, an annual event honoring local high school seniors who have achieved great success despite various obstacles. Quinn will be attending the luncheon with his family and South Fork Principal Jim Stewart on May 19th in Eureka.