Carl Hayden Student Named Gates Millennium Scholar

Posted by Community Relations Department on 5/2/2012

Balmis Lopez is one of five Phoenix Union High School District students named Gates Millennium Scholars this spring, earning scholarships valued up to $250,000, which can be applied toward undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.  Over 25,000 applied for the scholarship this year with 1,000 selected. Scholarship recipients are assessed in the areas of academic achievement, community service and leadership.    The goal of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gates Millennium Scholars program is to promote academic excellence and provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with financial need to reach their highest potential and increase representation of minorities in disciplines such as science, education, engineering, mathematics, public health and sciences.  

 Lopez has dreamed of becoming a pilot since he was a young boy and his goal is to fly his own plane.  Thanks in part to the Gates Foundation, he is planning to attend Embry Riddle University and major in aeronautical engineering.  In addition to being awarded the Gates Millennium, he received:  ASU’s Provost’s Scholarship, Westminster College Merit Award, Embry-Riddle Academic Achievement Scholarship and the GEAR UP-AZ College Scholarship Foundation Scholarship.  He is ranked sixth out of 468 seniors, with a GPA of 4.57.  Lopez is an active member of Hayden’s National Honor Society and is President of the Spanish National Honor Society.  He belongs to the school’s sustainability club,  Blue Planet Society,  and Youth Alive Club.  Lopez emigrated from El Salvador, and entered Carl Hayden speaking very little English.  After one year in the English Language Learner program, he was able to transfer into mainstream honors classes.