Hood River teens win Gates Scholar awards

April 27, 2011

Excellent citizenship, diligent study and willingness to lead are sometimes their own reward, but for two HRVHS seniors those qualities have lead to an extremely valuable bonus.

Lupe Santillan, 18, and Martha Sonato, 18, have been selected as 2011 recipients of the coveted Gates Millennium Scholars college scholarship award - two of just 1,000 awardees nationwide.

The young women received this distinction as a result of their excellent academics, history of community service and proven leadership potential.

"I'm so excited about this," said Sonato, "I'm just starting to realize that I can motivate other people, too, by setting a good example."

The GMS Scholarship Award provides financial support to fund the cost of education by covering unmet student financial need for tuition, living expenses, books, travel and college fees. Needless to say, that adds up to quite a scholarship.

"I'm definitely going to make the best of this," said Santillan, whose sister Elvia also received a GMS award in 2009. "I just couldn't believe it until I held the letter in my hand."

Winners are able to take their scholarships to any college of their choice. Both women are evaluating at least two top schools to choose between.

Santillan is leaning toward University of Washington or Chapman College. Sonato is split between Willamette University and the University of Portland. They have both already been accepted at their top choices.

GMS annually selects just 1,000 talented students from across the U.S. to receive the good-through-graduation scholarships.

Competition for the program is very high and this year marked the toughest competition yet with 23,000 applications submitted by students across the nation.

Early career aspirations include, for Santillan, the possibility of becoming a physical therapist. Sonato is interested in alternative energy, environmental science and communications.

To assist in successful graduation and career direction, Gates Millennium Scholars are also provided with personal and professional development through GMS leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.

Both winners credit HRVHS English teacher Nan Noteboom for supporting them throughout their application process.

"We couldn't have done it without her," said Santillan.

To be considered for the award, students complete an application which includes eight essays that must demonstrate the academic, leadership and community service experiences and attitudes of each applicant.

Successful students must also have received both a nomination and recommendation from school and community leaders to be considered.

The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.

The GMS Program, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the minority-focused college scholarships.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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