La Tressa C. Newberry, resident of Southfield and a senior at The Roeper School, was named a Gates Millennium Scholar (GMS) for the Class of 2014. Out of more than 52,000 applicants, La Tressa was selected as one of only 1,000 students awarded a scholarship this year. In the fall, she plans to attend Howard University to study Biology.

Roeper Middle & Upper School English teacher Kelly McDowell had this to say, “In a perfect world, we are rewarded for our hard work. It looks like a little bit of perfection was achieved with this award. I can think of few other students who are as hardworking as La Tressa. In fact, two words that come to mind when I think of La Tressa both begin with an h: hardworking and humble. Beyond her impressive work ethic and great skill, she continuously exhibits a humility that is authentic and admirable. Consequently, I find her to be so deserving of this auspicious award and am thrilled that she is being recognized in this way.”

The GMS Program selects talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Recipients are commended on strong leadership, community service and academic achievements, and each recipient is recognized as a Leader for America’s Future. 

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 by:

  • Reducing financial barriers for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need;
  • Increasing the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented;
  • Developing a diversified cadre of future leaders for America by facilitating successful completion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; and
  • Providing seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs, for students selected as Gates Millennium Scholars entering target disciplines.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More information can be found at  

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