Sixteen Philadelphia-area high school students have been named winners in the Gates Millennium Scholars program.
The teens are among 1,000 members of the Class of 2014, the Washington-based scholarship program announced Thursday. They were selected from more than 52,000 applicants from across the country to the program for academically successful low-income students.
The roster includes seven students from public high schools in Philadelphia, Chester, and Cinnaminson; five from charter schools in Philadelphia and Camden; three from Catholic high schools in Philadelphia; and one who attends a private school in Newtown Square.
Founded in 1999 and funded with a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates Millennium Scholars aims to develop successful leaders for the country.
Students receive scholarships that cover the cost of earning an undergraduate degree in any major from an accredited college or university of their choice.
The program provides leadership development opportunities as well as social and mentoring support for the students, who often are the first members of their families to attend college.
It also offers continued support for those who pursue a graduate degree in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science.
The scholarship winners from Philadelphia are: Dorcas Adedoja, Northeast High; Radhika Adhikari and Son Nguyen, South Philadelphia High; Karen Pham, Girard Academic Music Program; Ana DeJesus, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High; Alexander Tieu, Roman Catholic High; Imani Richburg, West Catholic Preparatory High; Lypheng Kim and Reginald Nelson, Mastery Charter School-Thomas; and Jawad Pullin, Mastery Charter School-Pickett.
The other scholars from the area are: Justin Platt, Chester High; Kamri Staples, S.T.E.M. Magnet High, Chester; Destiny Bingham and Cindy Le, LEAP Academy University Charter School, Camden; Chester Thai, Episcopal Academy, Newtown Square; and Isaiah Udotong, Cinnaminson High.
According to the program, administered by the United Negro Scholarship Fund, 87 percent of the scholars graduate from college within six years. That statistic is 28 percent better than the national six-year college-completion rate for all students.