Daniel Million, one of two seniors at the Preuss School UCSD to receive a Gates Millennium Scholarship, is also the second in his family to receive the prestigious award.
Just three years earlier, his sister Miriam received the same scholarship during her senior year at Preuss. Being awarded the scholarships meant their family would not have to worry about how to pay for college as Gates Millennium Scholars have all college costs covered through graduation.
“This scholarship changed everything,” said Daniel Million, who plans to attend the University of Southern California this fall and study neuroscience. Miriam Million is at Johns Hopkins University studying public health. “Even with my other scholarships and grants, I was still expected to pay $8,000 per year, which would have been a huge burden to my family.”
Years earlier, the two graduates’ father had fled the violence and instability of political unrest in Ethiopia, determined to reach America. In the United States, he created a new life for his family, establishing education as a central value. As students at Preuss, a charter middle and high school for low income, highly motivated students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college, both of the Millions excelled.
“The support and guidance I received here is like nowhere else,” said Daniel Million. “Everyone understands where you’re coming from and helps motivate you. Academically, it was very challenging, but I never felt like I was alone.”
Preuss students have a strong track record of being named Gates Millennium Scholars. Daniel Million and his classmate Leslie Chavez are the 27th and 28th Preuss seniors to receive the award over the last eight years. Each year, only 1,000 students nationwide are selected to become scholars.
“We are extremely proud of Daniel and Leslie, as we are of all our graduates,” said Scott Barton, Preuss principal. “Our students’ success is a testament to their determination and the countless hours of hard work they put in to achieve their goals.”
The Preuss School has become known as one of the best high schools in the nation. Newsweek named Preuss the top transformative school in the nation for three consecutive years, citing the school’s ability to lead the way in getting low-income and first-generation students ready for college and beyond. As part of the school’s model, students take advantage of a longer school day and school year, a key practice that is now gaining traction nationally as part of the solution to the country’s educational challenges.
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