Cal High senior named Gates Millennium Scholar

California High School senior Ivan Delatorre is one of a select 1,000 students from across the nation to be named a Gates Millennium Scholar. Delatorre will use the scholarship to pursue a degree in accounting at UCLA.

Scholarship will cover all college costs

By Juliette Funes

VMA Communications

WHITTIER – On a mid-April Saturday afternoon, California High School senior Ivan Delatorre carefully opened a hefty packet of documents he’d received in the mail.

With his mother sitting by his side, the 18-year-old and his mother began to cry when they realized he was one of a select 1,000 students from across the nation chosen to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which will cover his unmet financial need to attend the University of California, Los Angeles through graduation.

Winners of the scholarship were officially announced May 1, 2015.

“I couldn’t believe I’d been selected for this award,” Delatorre said. “This is a huge honor and I feel so blessed. There’s no way I could have made it this far if not for the support of Cal High. I’m so proud to be a Condor.”

Delatorre, who holds a 4.3 GPA and is ranked seventh in a class of 720, was chosen from among 52,000 applicants for the Millennium Scholar Program, established in 1999 through a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program helps high-performing students attain their dream of attending four-year universities and colleges through graduate school.

Delatorre plans to major in accounting so he can ultimately help local families and small businesses learn how to be as resourceful as possible and thrive, even when faced with limited budgets.

“My family struggled a lot throughout my life to make ends meet,” Delatorre said. “I want to give back and be a positive influence in the community that raised me.”

On campus, Delatorre has been heavily involved with numerous clubs and organizations, serving in roles that include Key Club president, vice president of the Scholars Academy and Interact, treasurer of the National Honor Society, a member of Senior Class Council, Expanded Horizons, American Red Cross Club, Blue and Gold Society and a LINK crew leader.

He is also committed to off-campus volunteering, assisting with sports physicals every other Saturday, volunteering at local food banks and other community-sponsored events.

“Ivan has embraced every opportunity during his four years at Cal High with enthusiasm and dedication,” Principal Bill Schloss said. “We are ecstatic for Ivan and admire how hard he has worked to become a Millennium Scholar. We wish him the very best as he enters this next chapter in his life.”

Delatorre attributes his success to the mentoring and support he has received at Cal High.

“It is because of Cal High that I’ve gotten this far. The teachers are great. All of the counselors are willing to help you. Every single staff member wants you to succeed,” Delatorre said. “Cal High offers so many programs to get you back on track to graduate. Everyone is friendly and approachable. They want you to go far and realize how difficult it can be.”

Delatorre plans to continue to dedicate his free time to helping those in need.

“Ivan has successfully managed balancing a rigorous course schedule with his commendable volunteer efforts, and we couldn’t be more proud of him for this incredible achievement,” Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson said. “The Cal High community has provided Ivan with the academic, social and personal opportunities to thrive. We can’t wait to hear of the innovative, positive projects he will start in college.”

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