Bikinian Rani Hadley Awarded Gates Millennium Scholarship
By James Roth, The Plano Star
With graduation right around the corner, some high school seniors are looking for scholarships to help pay high tuition fees. After winning her award, one Newman Smith senior no longer has to worry about funding for college.
Rani Hadley recently won the 2010 Gates Millennium Scholar award, which will reward her up to $30,000 a year. Out of the 20,500 applicants for the scholarship, only 1,000 were selected to receive the award, Hadley being one of them.
“I first applied in December and then I found out I was a finalist at the beginning of March,” said Hadley. “When I found out I won, I was so happy. I opened the letter and started crying.”
The Gates Millennium Scholarship award is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It provides funds to minority scholars to attend any accredited college or university in the United States.
“Other than being a minority and my GPA, I think the biggest requirement that the award focuses on is leadership,” said Hadley, who is a captain on the basketball team. “It is a leadership scholarship through and through; I think they looked for someone who was in leadership positions.”
This is the second consecutive year that a Newman Smith High School student has won the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Celeste Russell won the award in 2009.
“Celeste and I actually played on the basketball team together. I would call her and ask her questions through the application process. She was definitely a big help,” Hadley said. “She would clarify the questions they were asking on the application, and gave me tips as to what they were looking for, like writing every essay.”
For the award, Hadley had to write eight essays over various topics, as well as provide academic and extra curricular information.
“All the essays required in-depth answers. I had to answer essay questions like ‘what subject do you excel in?’ and ‘what subject do you not excel in?’” said Hadley. “I found it odd that they asked what I was not good at but had to explain how I would work through it.”
The award could continue to support her all the way through her doctorate if she chooses to pursue one. Hadley is considering a career in international missions.
“I really like religious foreign ministry. It is an odd major; most people who win this award I think major in science or math,” said Hadley. “I am going to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. They have a specified program for international missions.”
Hadley admitted she will be homesick because she has four younger siblings and a close-knit family, but she is looking forward to her future. By winning this award, Hadley has helped her family tremendously.
“I have three younger brothers here at school with me who are graduating consecutively,” said the senior. “Four simultaneous college tuitions would be a lot for my parents. With my tuition off the table, it will give my brothers more of an opportunity to do what they want to do.”
With the help of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Hadley can now pursue any career she wants. The senior is thankful for the award and hopes more students with unique majors can win the award in the future.
“I was very surprised and thankful to know that they would fund me, knowing my major was different than most,” said Hadley. “I would really like to show them that even though my major is not a traditional one, I can still put the funds to good use. It is very generous.
Rani is the daughter of Scott and Carol Hadley.