CHARLESTON, S.C. (News Release) –West Ashley High School senior Quadray Hughes was recently awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. He is the first student in the school’s fifteen year history to receive this scholarship and the first student in the Charleston County School District to receive the scholarship since 2012. Hughes couldn’t believe it when he opened the letter informing him he’d received the scholarship. “I was excited,” says Hughes. “I did cry because I was excited I get to go to the city of my dreams.”
The Gates Millennium Scholarship was established in 1999 as part of a 1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; it was designed to provide more opportunities for higher education to outstanding students from minority backgrounds. Each year 1,000 students are selected as recipients of the scholarship. The program aims to encourage students to be successful at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The scholarship also offers students support through mentorship programs, financial and academic support, and personal and professional leadership opportunities.
To be considered for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Hughes had to write eight essays. He was nominated for the scholarship by his school counselor, Lindsay Hansen, and was recommended by science teacher, Katie Mullock. “Quadray has worked very hard to achieve what he has, and his potential is endless,” says Hansen. “He has been successful here at West Ashley High School and he continues to thrive in all aspects of his life while maintaining his grades, his success in extracurricular activities, and his positive relationships with students and teachers. To say that Quadray is motivated and driven towards success is an understatement.”
Hughes came to West Ashley High School from Charleston Math & Science after his 8th grade year. “I realized there were more opportunities here,” says Hughes. “I was able to get involved in clubs and activities.” Hughes is the Vice President of National Honor Society, a member of the Interact Club and Teacher Cadet, captain of the Cross Country team, and a volunteer student tutor for math and science, to name a few.
Hughes has been in Honors classes for his entire high school career and has taken nine AP classes. He has also taken advantage of numerous internships that he found out about through West Ashley teachers. He participated in the Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) with the SPAWAR Atlantic Naval Weapons Station, worked with the South Carolina Aquarium as part of their high school internship program, was involved with the Charleston County Youth Employment Program, and took part in the Teach the Need program at West Ashley High. When asked if he had any advice for underclassmen, Hughes quickly rattled off a number of sound pieces of advice. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help or for recommendations,” says Hughes. “It’s okay if you don’t get everything your first time because there will be another opportunity. Put yourself out there. Tell your story. Don’t settle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be open to all possibilities.” In the fall, Hughes will attend Northeastern University in Boston, MA to become a nurse practitioner. He gained experience with nursing while working as a student athletic trainer at West Ashley High. Hughes was able to get hands on experience helping real medical technicians if students were hurt during athletic events. Hughes will travel to Northeastern from July 9th– August 20th as part of their Summer Immersion Program which helps to familiarize students with the city of Boston and give them a chance to see what college is like before they arrive.
Classes will begin on September 7th.