John Tyler High School senior Rocquel Pettigrew was recently named a Gates Millennium Scholar, a scholarship awarded to 1,000 talented students nation-wide. This year there were more than 24,000 applicants. Gates Millennium Scholars are students who demonstrate strong leadership, community service and academic achievements. In addition to being one of the top 20 students in her class, Rocquel is also Student Council President, a member of National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Health Occupations Students of America, and a saxophone player in the John Tyler Band. “A rambunctious, outgoing leader, Rocquel has helped shape the academic environment in each of her classrooms. She has enhanced not only her own performance but the performance of her classmates as well,” John Tyler English Teacher Allison Rogers said. Through a rigorous application process, Rocquel was selected for this full-ride scholarship, which is estimated at $125,000. She will use her good-through-graduation scholarship at Stephen F. Austin State University where she plans to study biology in hopes of becoming a dentist. Rocquel will also receive mentoring services for personal and professional development along with academic support throughout her college career. “As a Gates Millennium Scholar, Pettigrew joins an elite group of John Tyler Alumni who are sure to shape the future of our East Texas community and our world,” John Tyler Counselor Christie Hood said. “John Tyler is proud to recognize one of our most exceptional students from the class of 2012.” Established in 1999, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.