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.

Collegiate High Students Named Commended Students

Dr. Sonja Rich, principal of Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State, announced that Alyssa Collyer and Zachary Brown have been named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, was presented by Dr. Rich to Ms. Collyer and Mr. Brown. ... (click for more)

Kappa Delta Pi Honors Four Local Educators

The Lee University chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for educators, recognized four local teachers for their demonstration of excellence in the classroom. The ceremony was held in the Helen DeVos College of Education on Lee’s campus.   The ceremony highlighted the impact these educators have had in their classrooms. Each was presented with a pin and ... (click for more)

Monica McMillon, 37, Shot And Killed In Alton Park On Tuesday Night

Monica McMillon, 37, was shot and killed in Alton Park on Tuesday night. The Chattanooga Police responded to the 3800 block of Highland Ave. on the report of a shooting. Once on scene police located one victim inside a residence. She  was struck by gunfire and  succumbed to her injuries on scene.   No suspect information is available at ... (click for more)

Judge Denies Motion By Walker County To Delay Closing Of Hutcheson Hospital

A bankruptcy judge in Atlanta on Tuesday denied a motion by Walker County, Ga., is asking a delay in closing Hutcheson Medical Center and laying off employees. Judge Paul Bonapfel said he appreciated the position of Walker County, but he said he would not interfere with the business decision made by the trustees appointed to operate the Fort Oglethorpe hospital. He also said ... (click for more)

A Thankful List

David Jeremiah said it best, that we have a tendency to concentrate on the things we don’t have rather than what God has already blessed us with.  Perhaps, he said, it is because there is not enough parchment available in this world to record all God’s bountiful blessings should we try to list them. This Thanksgiving let us gather our family close to us, whisper a prayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Mess With ‘Skunk’

One year ago today riots broke out anew in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury refused to indict Darren Wilson, a white 28-year-old police officer who shot and killed a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown. The altercation took place on Aug. 9, and video cameras later showed the black teenager robbing a store and assaulting the shopkeeper. After the unarmed Brown was shot, for ... (click for more)