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Two Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients come from Delano!

High school seniors Ian Hernandez from Delano High School and Klarissa Martinez from Cesar E. Chavez High School receive a scholarship that covers the cost of their higher education forever
Posted at 9:45 AM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 21:25:25-04

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — The Gates Scholarship comes to two Delano seniors, taking away financial stress.

  • The Gates Millennium Scholars program was created and established in 1999. It's a program utilized by minority students in need of financial assistance for their education.
  • Thousands of applicants apply each year but only up to 1,000 students are chosen.
  • Nearly 37.5% of Gates Millennium Scholars transition into graduate school after earning a Bachelor's degree.

With graduation season right around the corner, two students from Delano have been working hard to secure their future educational goals. Both students recently earned a scholarship that will take financial troubles off their plates … forever.

"I barely got the news right now and it just means a lot because I didn't know how I was going to be able to afford college,” said Delano High School senior Ian Hernandez.

Hernandez is one of two students to receive the prestigious scholarship in Delano.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship started back in 1999, created for minority students who face many financial barriers.

Since then, the grant has been able to provide more than 15,000 students the chance to earn a degree and a postgraduate degree free of charge.

Delano Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing Klarissa Martinez from Cesar E. Chavez High School. Martinez was one of the two students who got the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
Delano Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing Klarissa Martinez from Cesar E. Chavez High School. Martinez was one of the two students who got the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

"Now, with this funding, I can go to school and I don't have to worry about any of that, I can just focus on getting my education and using that — whatever I learn at college to serve my community in the future,” said second recipient Klarissa Martinez from Cesar E. Chavez High School.

Martinez says since her mother didn't get to go to college due to finances, this scholarship takes a lot of worry off her family's plate.

Hernandez credits some of his success to the overwhelming support he received from his teachers and says he wouldn't have applied for the Gates scholarship if it wasn't for his counselor.

"Here in Delano, especially the education is like really great,” said Hernandez. “The teachers really care a lot about the students and I feel it's just that the teachers care about the students and they have like a huge passion to just watch their students succeed."

Martinez also credited her reason for applying to her parents and teachers... and says she wants to become a doctor to take care of people in Kern County.

"I think that there's a big disparity in the type of health care that minorities receive in the United States so my goal is to somehow change that,” said Martinez. “I want to bring attention to that and become the doctor that can give this community the personalized health care that they need."

Hernandez and Martinez say they can't wait to pursue their educational goals and leave other students a word of advice.

"Everyone should just try to apply for scholarships, any scholarship that's available they should just try because there's a lot of free money out there and a lot of people just don't take advantage of that free money,” said Hernandez.

"All you have to do is put in the effort you know, you have to put yourself out there and they will find you,” said Martinez.

The program has been able to fund over 20,000 scholars since 2000. Since its start, 14,677 Gates Millennium Scholars have completed a degree, and will soon be adding two more students to the list.


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