LaGrange Senior awarded Bill Gates Scholarship - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

LaGrange Senior awarded Bill Gates Scholarship

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A senior at LaGrange High School in Lake Charles has recently been selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar.

Sierra Jackson of Lake Charles applied for the Bill Gates scholarship in a pool of more than 20,500 applicants.

The scholarship is awarded to 1,000 minority students every year as it recognizes their strong leadership, community service, and academic achievements.

Jackson first applied for the scholarship earlier this school year, then discovered she was a finalist in March.

"When I became a finalist in the Gates Millennium Scholarship, I prayed about it," said Jackson.

Then just weeks later Jackson, a letter came in the mail confirming that she had made it as a Gates Scholar.

"When I opened it, I didn't even finish reading the whole thing," said Jackson. "I just read 'Congratulations' and then I started calling everybody."

But Jackson's road to high school success was not an easy one, however. 

In 2005, Jackson's family was uprooted from their New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina.

Jackson's family moved to Lake Charles where she then started attending LaGrange High School.

"I think the experience I had hear at LaGrange was somewhat chaotic," said Jackson.

But aside from the chaos of moving away from home, Jackson's true colors finally came out as she  eventually became involved in volunteer work, served as president of Future Business Leaders of America, and became a member of the National Honors Society.

Though Jackson has the opportunity to attend any college in the country, she is choosing to stay close to home.

"I'm going to LSU for an undergraduate degree in chemistry," said Jackson.

Dr. Andy Buckley, a history teacher at LaGrange High, recommended Jackson to apply for the scholarship. 

"Ms. Jackson is one of the greatest students I have ever taught," said Dr. Buckley. "I think that what Sierra has achieved should be a motivation to all of our students at LaGrange."

Through her scholarship, Jackson is hoping to encourage her classmates to pursue their dreams as well.

"If you want it, then claim it and it's yours," said Jackson.

Jackson will leave for LSU next week to start her summer courses.

Although she's starting college at LSU, she has not completely ruled out going to a larger college or university for her doctorate.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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