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Columbus City Schools Senior Awarded Prestigious Gates Scholarship

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April 30, 2024 -- Columbus City Schools' Independence High School is thrilled to announce that senior Michael Hoch has been selected as one of the 300 students nationwide to receive the transformative Gates Scholarship. This prestigious award, provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offers full financial support for college to outstanding minority students from low-income households, paving the way for a promising future.

Reflecting on the news of his selection, Hoch expressed profound relief and ​excitement, stating, "It felt like a heavy burden has been lifted. The crushing force of debt, which continues to grow with every passing day, would've haunted me for large swaths of my life, is gone. It was akin to the eye of a storm. Thanks to the Gates Scholarship, I look forward to a future full of possibilities."

The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective program that offers comprehensive support to Scholars. It ensures they have access to all necessary resources and services from their first day of classes through graduation and beyond, instilling confidence and security. The scholarship covers tuition and additional expenses such as books, housing, and transportation.

Independence High School Counselor Darlene Johnson, M.Ed., LSC, played a crucial role in guiding Michael Hoch toward the Gates Scholarship. "I knew from the moment I met Michael that he would make an excellent candidate for the Gates Scholarship. His intelligence, dedication to his studies, and future goals were the qualities I immediately recognized. The Gates Scholarship is an outstanding achievement for any student. It opens doors and provides opportunities for our students that are typically cost-prohibitive."

Hoch plans to attend The Ohio State University (OSU). He has been attending college full-time while working toward his high school diploma through the College Credit Plus program. This program allows students to simultaneously earn college and high school credits, often at no cost to the student. His first year in the program was at Columbus State Community College, and the final two years were on the campus of OSU.

"College Credit Plus has allowed me to get 75 credit hours free of charge that are all transferable to OSU," said Hoch. "It's also close, and I want to take a few professors again. I'll probably attempt a dual major in a language to study abroad, as well as political science or history. I intend to get my Master's in education and my teaching license to teach."

Johnson proudly shared, "He has spent his last two years on OSU's campus, but we maintain contact via Zoom and email to ensure he remains on track and meets important deadlines. Michael is an impressive young man with a bright future ahead of him. As a recipient of the Gates Scholarship, I am confident that he will take full advantage of all the resources, benefits, and opportunities this scholarship will provide. I am proud of him and all he has accomplished."

Founded in 2017 by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Scholarship program is committed to helping outstanding minority students from low-income backgrounds realize their maximum potential. By eliminating financial barriers to college, the program aims to empower high-potential, low-income minority students to excel in their coursework, graduate college, and become leaders throughout their lives. The program has already supported hundreds of students like Michael Hoch, enabling them to pursue their dreams and make a difference in their communities.

Michael Hoch's selection as a Gates Scholar recognizes his hard work and dedication and is a testament to his potential for future success. His journey from a student at Independence High School to a recipient of the prestigious Gates Scholarship inspires students everywhere. It demonstrates that even the most challenging goals can be achieved with perseverance and determination.

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