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Eastside Graduate Named Gates Millennium Scholar
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Recent Eastside High School graduate Narissa Turner has been awarded a Class of 2013 Gates Millennium Scholars good-through-graduation scholarship which can be used to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of her choice. She is one of only 1,000 students in the nation to receive the prestigious scholarship. 

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose. Continuing Gates Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.

 The Gates Millennium Scholars Program also provides recipients with leadership development opportunities, mentoring, academic and social support. The Program is known for its recipients’ high graduation rates—a six-year rate of 90 percent (45 percent higher than the national graduation rates for all students) and comparable to the rates for students from high-income families.

 During her high school career, Narissa maintained a very busy schedule as she was involved in the National Honor Society, Junior Classical League and Art Club all while taking a total of seven advanced placement classes.  

“I was really excited when I found out I received the Gates Scholarship,” said Narissa. “I never believed I would get it. I think my parents were even more excited than I was.”

 Narissa plans on majoring in biology and animal science in undergraduate school at the University of Georgia and has already determined she will study zoology in graduate school; the Gates Scholarship will pay her way entirely. She hopes to one day become a zoologist.

 “Narissa is an amazing young lady who has fully devoted herself towards achieving tremendous goals while at Eastside,” said Eastside High School principal Jeff Cher. “Her energy and enthusiasm are only exceeded by her talents and abilities.”