Alexandria Longoria, a Hanford High School senior, is among 1,000 students nationwide to receive a Gates Millennium Scholarship. The grants, underwritten by billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda, offer up to $20,000 per year for education as long as each student remains in school.

Longoria told The Fresno Bee her school career was successful because there was always a teacher to help her. She intends to follow that example by becoming a teacher and speech therapist.

"There has always been a teacher there for me, an adult in a school environment that changed my life in one way or another," she said in a May 10 Bee article. "I love helping kids and seeing them grow."

Ranked 10th in her class of 342 students with a 4.02 GPA, Longoria was the Associated Student Body president and played varsity softball.

Karen Evangelo, Hanford High's ASB adviser, told The Bee she thinks Alex was selected for the Gates scholarship because she is well-rounded and has a strong academic record. "She is very sincere in everything she does," Evangelo said. "There is no question when you give her a task she will get it done."

But her desire to help children is what most impresses Evangelo. "We do community service and visit elementary schools where she shares her experiences in academics and playing sports," Evangelo said. "She tells them they must have good grades, determination and a work ethic or they are not going to go very far."

This year 182 Gates winners were from California, with six from the Central Valley.

Read about all the Valley Gates Scholarship winners in The Fresno Bee:


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations