05/20/14 — Eastern Wayne senior earns Gates Millennium scholarship

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Eastern Wayne senior earns Gates Millennium scholarship

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 20, 2014 1:46 PM

Lexus Bivins

An Eastern Wayne High School senior recently learned her family won't have to worry about paying to send her off to college next year, even if she decides to pursue graduate or doctoral studies.

Lexus Bivins is among 1,000 students nationwide chosen for the United Negro College Fund Gates Millennium Scholarship, or GMS program.

"My sister brought me the package and I got really excited," she said of the announcement. "When I opened it, I started crying. Me and my mom and my sister just stood there hugging each other. I was so relieved for my mom because she was really worried about how I was going to pay for college. Now I can graduate debt-free."

Established in 1999 to support the next generation of leaders, the GMS program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is designed to reduce the financial burden on and increase the number of African American, American Indian/Alaska native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students pursuing undergraduate programs.

Scholarships are awarded to incoming college freshmen who have demonstrated academic achievement in the classroom and shown leadership skills through service to their communities.

Ms. Bivins is active in her high school's National Honor Society and art club, and is a member of the CTE National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars. She has also been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro Wayne County Restore and the Wayne County Public Library.

An estimated 52,000 students applied for the scholarship. It can be used to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at the college or university of her choice. Continuing Gates Scholars may also request funding for a graduate degree program in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

The GMS award covers costs of tuition, room and board, books, laptops or other required equipment and study abroad programs. Ms. Bivins will also be afforded academic, personal and professional growth opportunities through the GMS Leadership Program.

She plans to attend N.C. State University and pursue a double major in international studies and business. She said she hopes her college experience and passion for business and language will allow her to work overseas an interpreter and also aspires to one day serve as an ambassador.

This is the eighth time a local student has received the award. The first five, all from Goldsboro High School, included Hameka Canady (2006), Tremaine Rawls (2007), Teddy Howell (2008), Lakiyah Campbell (2010) and Zacchia Cobb (2012). In 2012, Eastern Wayne High School student Marques McPhail was also presented with the scholarship, and in 2013 it went to Santos Saldivar from Southern Wayne High.