McCallie School graduate Christopher Meadows ’14, a day student from Chattanooga, was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship and will attend Rhodes College in the fall. Despite his persistence, Christopher was unable to attend McCallie until his ninth-grade year. Once his goal of attending McCallie was realized, he impressed teachers and students alike.
“There is no doubt that Christopher has taken full advantage of his opportunities and benefitted greatly from being at McCallie,” Director of College Guidance Jeff Kurtzman said. “However, I am confident that our community has benefitted far more from his presence on our campus. He is a dedicated, hard-working and intellectually curious student that elevates the level of debate and discourse in his classes.”
Christopher plans to study law or politics at Rhodes and eventually enter law school. Through the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, all costs associated with his college education – up to and potentially including a doctorate degree – will be completely covered by his Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The Gates application process requires eight short essays. Christopher said he relished the opportunity to express himself to the Foundation. The last essay was an open-ended assignment. Applicants could write on any topic.
“I wrote about how I ended up at McCallie,” he said. “It’s been a struggle. My mother has sacrificed so much for me to come here and made it possible for me to realize what I dream and aspire to be. It’s been difficult for us; a year-to-year ordeal.
“I found out I was a finalist in March. On April 18, I got a packet in the mail. My mother woke me up from a nap and gave it to me. It was a thick packet so I figured it might be good news. It is an indescribable feeling and hard to believe.”
Christopher is the third McCallie graduate in three years to receive this scholarship, following Jose Cruz in 2012 and Chris Lee in 2013.
Funded by a $1.6 billion grant, the Gates Foundation program was set up to help low-income minority students with higher education costs and steer them toward careers in education, engineering and the sciences. Only 1,000 students out of 25,000 applicants are selected. To be eligible for a Gates Scholarship, a student must be African-American, American-Indian or Alaska native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic-American who is a U.S. citizen. He or she must have a grade point average of 3.3 or above, have demonstrated leadership qualities and met federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.