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Lake City High School senior receives $500,000 scholarship

Rebeca Pacheco receives $500,000 Gates Millennium Scholarship. (Photo courtesy of FCSD3, Background/WPDE)

Lake City High School senior Rebeca Pacheco received a $500,000 scholarship to provide funding for undergraduate and graduate school, as well as doctoral studies, according to a news release.

Pacheco, who dreams of being a pediatrician, was notified Tuesday, April 19, that she was a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship.

She applied for the scholarship in January and in March was selected as a finalist, according to the release.

Around 60,000 applicants applied for the scholarship from around the country and 1,000 students received it.

The recipients were selected by independent application readers based on academic achievement, community service and leadership.

In the release, Pacheco said she has been accepted to all seven colleges she applied to and plans to attend Francis Marion University and major in nursing.

From there, she would attend the Medical University of South Carolina to become a pediatrician.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician," she recalled. "I love working with little kids," Pacheco said in the release.

According to the release, Pacheco is ranked sixth in her senior class and is a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. She has completed honors courses in English, math and science, as well as dual enrollment classes in English, biology and theater. She is captain of the girls' soccer team and also provides Spanish and English translation services in her church and in the community.

Last year, Mikayla Hanna became the first Lake City High student to receive the scholarship and is currently a student at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County.

"The Selection of Rebeca as a Gates Millennium Scholar is a tipping point for our school district," said Yvonne Scott, supervisor of Florence County School District 3 College, Career and Outreach Services in the release. "Having back-to-back Gates Millennium Scholars is proof positive that our students are capable of pursuing any college and career aspiration. We believe in our students and our students are beginning to believe in themselves. With this shared belief, anything is possible."

According to the release, The Gates Millennium Scholars program is funded through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was established in 1999 to provide outstanding low income African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic-American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education.

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