IPS student wins Gates Millennium Scholarship

Alex Dunlap
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An Indianapolis high school senior just received a college scholarship that seems almost too good to believe.

Alex Dunlap's hard work, great grades and public service is being rewarded with a lifetime's worth of free education.

"I really didn't see this coming," she said with a slight look of amazement.

Who would? From 54,000 of the nation's most talented and promising high school seniors, Alex is one of the 1,000 to picked receive the scholarship of a lifetime.

"I started crying. My mom started crying. We were happy. She's called everybody. She's still calling everybody," laughed Alex.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship covers college costs from undergraduate to graduate to doctoral degrees. The program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2000, it has awarded scholarships totaling more than $764 million.

"I'm going to take Spanish, French, Chinese. I'm also trying to pick up Arabic in college," said Alex.

Just those?

"Just those," she said again with a laugh.

Alex is graduating high school a year early. She's already completed a semester of college, teaches Spanish to children and bakes cakes to raise money to build schools for girls in India.

When did she have time to go to school and study?

"During the day," Alex quipped.

Earning straight A's at Indianapolis' Broad Ripple High School, Alex Dunlap's story is even more remarkable when you consider where she's come from. She's been raised in Indianapolis Public Schools - schools that by many standards are labeled as failing. Schools where most students struggle just to get by.

Although Alex has certainly worked harder than most , she's impressed by her classmates.

"There are really a lot of good students especially here at Broad Ripple," she explained. "They work really hard, they care about their grades and plan to do great things."

But some of the greatest opportunities and expectations are at the feet of this 16-year-old.

We asked her if she felt any pressure.

"No," she said in a serious voice. "I obviously planned to go to do well in college and planned on getting into a law school anyway. I have to keep my grades up keep my family proud."

We're sure they already are.

Gates Millennium Scholarship