Yancy is one of only 1,000 students nationwide to receive the coveted scholarship. Twenty-one of this year’s recipients hail from Michigan and only eight from Detroit. Funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GMS Program makes it possible for high-performing, low-income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice.
Yancy, who is a member of the National Honor Society and the Mustang Peer Mediators at HFA: SCS and who also participated in CCS’s dual enrollment program, had already set his sights on the College for Creative Studies when he dove into the multi-part GMS Program application process.
“My counselor, Ms. Edwards, told me about the scholarship,” Yancy recalled. “I had to write eight 500-word essays!” In addition to the essays, Yancy had to demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, leadership roles and community service. He credits the support of his parents and HFA: SCS teachers with helping him through the process.
Outside of school, Yancy is a member of God’s Creation Dance Group, which travels to churches in Michigan to minister to congregations through dance. He hopes one day to be able to integrate dance into his art practice, which he explained may be illustration or product design.
“Product design is about being able to expand your ideas over a wide range of things,” said Yancy. “But illustration seems more concentrated and uses the imagination in a different way. I could see doing them both.”
The Gates Millennium Scholarship provides recipients with financial support, leadership training, mentoring and academic and social support. Established in 1999, the goal of the GMS Program is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.