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Gates Foundation scholarships find two Birmingham students

Two seniors from Woodlawn High School will now have no worries about paying for college, thanks to receiving scholarships paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jarrell Jordan and Trey Hawkins were each recipients of Gates Millennium Scholarships, which the United Negro College Fund administers and are funded by the former CEO of Microsoft and his wife’s charitable organization.

Jordan and Hawkins were among 1,000 students across the country to be awarded these scholarships, which are designed to help students pay for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.

The Gates Millennium Scholarships are distributed to minority students that show a “significant financial need”. Students are required to have a 3.3 GPA, qualify for the federal Pell Grant, and demonstrate outstanding leadership ability.

Whether their success can be attributed to the use of Common Core standards in Birmingham, which were adopted by Alabama in 2009 but rescinded in 2013, is unclear. However, both Woodlawn students met and exceeded college entrance expectations.

Hawkins is the valedictorian for his class and has been offered almost $1.5m in scholarships, including Morehouse College’s coveted Oprah Winfrey New Century Scholarship. However, he has elected to attend Howard University, where he will start on a pre-medical track, no doubt helped by a $100,000 Legacy Scholarship from the Washington D.C.-based university.

Jordan ranked 5th in his class and was accepted into 45 of the 70 colleges to which he applied. He was also awarded almost $700,000 in scholarships. Jordan, who sees himself as one day being the city’s mayor, will be interning this summer in the elected official’s Birmingham office.

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