Norfolk Collegiate’s Gates Millennium Scholar recipient

Norfolk Collegiate would like to congratulate Faith Rush ’16 who is a 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar. Faith now joins the ranks of outstanding minority students nationwide who will receive full coverage of tuition, room, board and expenses to the school of her choice.

The Gates Millennium Scholar Program is awarded to high-performing minority students who exemplify academic success with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Established in 1996 and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the program selects 1,000 students to become the future leaders of America by developing a stronger society of people. This distinct honor commends Faith’s strong leadership skills, community service and academic achievements.

“It was really amazing to know that I have the ability, and the school kind of helped me to set up an education and a foundation to receive a scholarship of such standard,” Faith said. “To know that I received this award was exciting and a shock at the same time. It’s such a big scholarship, and it’s really competitive, but knowing that I was able to get it was really amazing.”

The process of applying to the scholarship is rigorous.

“My mom introduced me to the scholarship and pushed me to apply,” she said. “First, there were eight questions to answer. Each of different variety, such as what was your favorite and least favorite subject and why, and what were your community service activities. Then, you had to explain your parents’ financial ability and how much they would be able to pay for college,” Faith continued. “You had to work at it gradually. It wasn’t something I could cram in at one time. I also had to get two letters of recommendations, [including] one from Ms. Weyer and Andrew Clark, executive director of the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation where I have been volunteering.”

Upper School Dean of Students Nicole Weyer commends the Gate Millennium Scholar Program as “one who gets it right,” in terms of a scholarship program that provides updates to the school of Faith’s progress in pursuit of the award.

“I recommended Faith because I had the opportunity to get to know her in very different and diverse forms since my arrival as dean,” said Weyer. “As a volleyball player, as an artist and as someone who was a part of yearbook last year, I see her around campus participating in various involvements during the day and other events on campus. She is a fantastic example of a student who is engaged and involved in our community. I’ve watched her grow significantly and become even more responsible, mature and clarify the person that she wants to become. Faith has really developed a fantastic sense of self during her time in the upper school. I am really privileged to be a part of that experience; I’m really proud of her and she should be proud of herself. It was a pleasure for me to speak on her behalf.”

This year’s application pool saw more than 53,000 applicants, making it one of the most competitive candidate groups in the program’s history, according to the announcement letter sent to Faith.

One of the benefits of the scholarship program is that it allows students to pursue their graduate studies, including a master’s and doctoral program in the fields of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

Faith will attend Winthrop University in South Carolina to study creative writing in the fall. She plans to pursue her doctoral degree with the help of this renewable scholarship and is hopeful for the future.

“One of my biggest goals is to write a novel and have it be successful,” she said. “Norfolk Collegiate has prepared me to enter into college by providing different courses to take, such as British literature and southern literature. My English courses allowed me to learn different perspectives of America and beyond through literature,” she continued. “I think the broad amount of classes I’ve been able to take, especially with advanced placement courses, have strengthened my writing by introducing me to various writing techniques and helping me to focus on grammar. All of that has helped me to craft my writing style.”