Marisela Angulo, Devonta Dickey, LaShanda Harbin and Shermee Randolph said they were notified by mail in mid-April that they were Gates scholars. The four seniors at the selective-enrollment school at 6130 S. Wolcott Ave., added that without the scholarships — which pay for a student's college education from undergrad to Ph.D. programs — it would have been difficult to go away to school.
This fall Randolph, 18, an Ashburn resident, will attend the University of San Diego and major in marine biology with a goal of becoming a marine biology researcher or a dolphin trainer, she said.
Randolph's mother, a single parent, told her "I would have needed $10,000 more if I didn't get this scholarship, so more than likely I would have had to stay in Illinois for school," she said.
With the scholarship, "I can go away to school and experience new things," said Randolph.
LaShanda, an Englewood resident with a 4.5 grade point average, recalled how she was on the bus with her mom when her grandmother called and told her she had won the scholarship.
"My mom started jumping up and down on the bus and telling random people that 'My daughter won a Gates scholarship.' I had to calm her down because she was more excited than me," said LaShanda, 17.
Lindblom Principal Alan Mather described the Gates scholarship as "the mother of all scholarships."
"There is no scholarship that is more powerful or has the capacity to change someone's life like the Gates scholarship," Mather said.
But Lindblom was not the only school in Englewood with Gates scholars.
The 2014 Gates scholars, which consist of 1,000 seniors nationally, including 44 who attend Chicago Public Schools, also named Alex Jackson, of William Harper High School, and Tyler Greer, Dwayne Mitchell and Ellis Taylor, who attend the Englewood campus of Urban Prep Academy for Young Men High School, as Gates scholars, too.
Taylor, a 19-year-old Washington Heights resident with a 3.9 GPA, will attend Oberlin College in Ohio this fall to study computer science; Tyler, a 17-year-old resident of south suburban Dolton with a 4.1 GPA will attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., to study mechanical engineering; and Mitchell, an 18-year-old resident of south suburban Dolton with a 3.9 GPA will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study business.
Additionally, Urban Prep's Egyptian Griffis, a senior at the school's West Side campus; and Jari Watson, a senior at its Bronzeville campus, are Gates scholars also.
Tyler's older brother, Gregory, is an Urban Prep and Gates scholar alumnus who attends Howard University.
"My brother won the Gates scholarship in 2012; who would have ever thought two brothers would win this competitive scholarship?" said Tyler.
Tyler and Taylor credit Urban Prep with preparing them to apply for competitive scholarships and college.
"We owe them a lot. Urban Prep got us on track to go to college the first day we arrived here," recalled Taylor. "And I am glad they did because look at me now."
At Simeon Career Academy High School, 8147 S. Vincennes Ave., Asia Brewington, a 17-year-old Chatham resident with a 4.2 GPA is the schools's lone Gates scholar. She plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study kinesiology with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
Asia said the most challenging part of the application process for her was writing the eight required essays.
"You basically have to talk about yourself in these essays, so details are essential," she said. "Writing that many essays can be a challenge for anyone."
The Gates Millennium Scholarships, established in 1999 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is available to high-achieving minorities who have at least a 3.3 GPA. and have demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills.
While winners can major in any area of interest as undergrads, graduate degrees covered by the scholarship must be in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.