Nguyen, Martinez Named Gates Millennium Scholars

Friday, May 9, 2014
Dalton High seniors Thao Nguyen and Suzie Martinez have been named Gates Millennium Scholars—a scholarship that pays for everything from tuition, books, living expenses, and even gas costs.
Dalton High seniors Thao Nguyen and Suzie Martinez have been named Gates Millennium Scholars—a scholarship that pays for everything from tuition, books, living expenses, and even gas costs.

Dalton High seniors Thao Nguyen and Suzie Martinez have been named Gates Millennium Scholars—a scholarship that pays for everything from tuition, books, living expenses, and even gas costs. Ms. Nguyen and Ms. Martinez are the 12th and 13th students from Dalton High to receive the scholarships since 2008.

To apply for the scholarship, students must be going into college, have a 3.3 high school GPA, demonstrate leadership abilities, and be of a minority race. 

The deadline to apply was in January, and a lot of writing was required with the application—both Ms. Nguyen and Ms. Martinez had to turn in eight essays.

All had to be less than 1,000 words. Two were recommendation, and others described things such as their strengths, weaknesses, and obstacles. 

For obstacles, the two 18-year-olds talked about bumps in the road with their families. 

“My parents don’t understand my extracurricular activities, and they don’t understand why I’m never home,” said Ms. Martinez. 

“I’m from a single mom family. We have a low financial standing, and my mom has to take care of my grandparents,” Ms. Nguyen said.

With strengths, Ms. Martinez said social studies (the senior has previously been nominated in Governor’s Honors in the subject), and Ms. Nguyen said math and history.

“It’s second nature,” Ms. Nguyen said of math.

In March, they both found out they were finalists. 

“There was still another round, so I was skeptical,” said Ms. Nguyen.

“I went back and read my essays and questioned why they chose me,” said Ms. Martinez. “Not that I’m unqualified, I was just questioning. I couldn’t believe it.”

With this round, finalists had to send in more documents including proof of college admittance, transcripts and Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

As time to find out the scholars drew near, Ms. Martinez and Ms. Nguyen heard others were already getting their acceptance packages, and they were not.

“I saw others saying they got theirs,” Ms. Martinez said.

When they finally heard in April that they were officially scholars, they couldn’t believe they had done it. 

Ms. Martinez realized when she did finally get her package, the package was big one, which usually means good news.

She was right. 

 “I screamed, ‘I got it, I got it!’” Ms. Martinez said.

“I couldn’t breathe for 20 minutes, and I was hyperventilating” Ms. Nguyen said.

Ms. Martinez and Ms. Nguyen are two of the 1,000 who were named scholars—5,200 first applied, 2,000 were finalists, and then the final 1,000 were chosen.

Both of the girls say winning the Gate Millennium Scholarship takes a huge weight from their shoulders. 

“It’s a relief,” said Ms. Nguyen. “I don’t have the money to go to college.”

“It’s a huge burden off of my parents,” said Ms. Martinez.

To those that gave the scholarship, Ms. Nguyen said: “Thank you for believing in us and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream.”

Ms. Martinez added, “Thank you for taking a chance on us. I wish others with large incomes would do something like this.”

Ms. Martinez will head off to Berry College in the fall and major in animal science, and Ms. Nguyen will attend the University of Georgia to be a pre-med student.



Gretchen Abernathy Named Distinguished Educator Of 2015

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust has named Gretchen Abernathy the Distinguished Educator of 2015 for her exemplary contribution to the organization’s mission. She was recognized by State Representative Bruce Broadrick during the Days of Remembrance Ceremony at the State Capitol for her recent accomplishment, along with three Dalton Middle School student winners of the 2015 ... (click for more)

Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission Offers Free Training Summits For Teachers

The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, a program of the Tennessee Treasury Department, will celebrate April Financial Literacy Month by offering training summits for teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade, on  Saturday, April 25 , at Chattanooga State Community College. In the last two years, the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission has trained over 2,000 ... (click for more)

Erlanger's Good Financial News Continues With $11.4 Million Profit For Past 3 Months; Profit At $25.3 Million After 9 Months

Erlanger Health System's good financial news keeps coming - with the announcement on Monday of a profit of $11.4 million for the past three months. Brit Tabor said the hospital has a profit of $25.3 million for the first nine months of the fiscal year. Kevin Spiegel, hospital president, said more good news is projected for the fourth quarter. Mr. Tabor said, "Our market ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Get $100 Million New Electronic Medical Records System

Erlanger Health System will be getting a new electronic medical records system costing just short of $100 million, Erlanger CEO and President Kevin Spiegel said Monday. He said the old Legacy IT system was the hospital's #1 dissatisfaction source. The hospital board is to be asked to approve the system, which will be paid for over several years, at the May board meeting. ... (click for more)

Shock Should Be At Low Teacher Salaries - And Response (4)

In a recent article, Commissioner Tim Boyd is quoted as being shocked at the "high" salaries of central office personnel. While I agree that their salaries are significantly more than what a classroom teacher could ever hope to make, I believe that his shock and disgust are misplaced.  Those salaries, when compared to private-sector jobs, are hardly out of line. Superintendent ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why The British Attacked

This was a pretty big week exactly 240 years ago and what happened then is really important now. The British Army, after arriving in increasing numbers seven years before, decided to launch a sneak attack on Concord, Mass., and several other towns in mid-April of 1775. Their purpose was simple: take away every gun you can find. Confiscate every weapon of any kind. It was believed ... (click for more)