Hill was named as a Gates Millennium Scholarship winner this year, a program for students who excel in the classroom and plan to study a subject in college underrepresented by minorities. The scholarship covers both undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science.
The application required students to have a minimum of 3.3 GPA and included many essays for students to complete. Hill’s scholarship is estimated to be worth over $96,000 and allows him to go to any school of his choice. He will attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the fall with a pre-health focus. He hopes eventually to attend UNC-Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
“This scholarship means so much to me because I am blessed enough to be able to go to college and not pay for it, which is a luxury that most people don’t have,” he said.
Over 50,000 students applied for the scholarship, and Hill was one of only 1,000 to receive it. He also received a $12,000 Golden LEAF scholarship, a $7,000 Dover scholarship, a $2,000 Cecil Prince scholarship, an A. Mickey Church Scholarship from Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation, and more.
On top of being a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, Hill also maintained a 4.83 GPA and played basketball all four years of high school, and he was an all-conference player his senior year.
“It was very hard to balance basketball and schoolwork when the season came around, and I had a lot of sleepless nights, but it was worth the hard work,” he said.
All of Hill’s success did not come without help, though. He said Nick Inman, math teacher and JV basketball coach at KMHS, was the faculty member who helped him most throughout high school.
“He helped a lot with the transition to high school and taught me a lot while I was still learning about myself,” said Hill. “He’s also a genius.”
Inman, who spoke about Hill at this year's Teaching Excellence Awards, said Hill was a fantastic individual.
"He might be the most dedicated individual to buy into the concept of making small, daily improvements to achieve the highest goals," Inman said. "He constantly makes himself a better man with each passing day. As long as he decides to continue with that concept, he will be an insurmountable force in the world."
Hill said he also received help from Jill Cruise, a guidance counselor at KMHS, and his mom throughout the whole scholarship process.
“Mrs. Cruise and my mom are the ones who searched endlessly for scholarships in order to take the load off of me and other students as well, so they deserve a lot of credit for me even being considered for any scholarship,” he said. “I’m very thankful for everyone who has helped me.”
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