Javier Aranzales, a senior in the New World School of the Arts high school dance program, was among 1,000 students nationwide to receive the 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship Award (GMS).
The award will provide him a full scholarship to undergraduate and graduate school, as well as doctoral-level studies. Aranzales will be attending Harvard University to pursue a career in pre-med and neurobiology.
“Being a Gates Millennium Scholar means that financial burdens will not get in the way of following my heart,” Aranzales said. “It also means being part of a community of dreamers, leaders and achievers — rising above our status of minorities.”
Aranzales also was admitted to other universities such as Amherst, Swarthmore, Dartmouth and the University of Florida, receiving numerous scholarships including the Ford Salute to Education.
“Javier is a remarkable young person, and we are so proud that his talents, intellect, and spirit have been recognized by this distinguished award,” said Mary Lisa Burns, dean of dance at NWSA. “We look forward to hearing of his accomplishments in the years to come, and know that the world will be a better place because of the opportunities which he has been given.”
A first generation college-bound student who came to the U.S. at the age of 5, Aranzales is one of those students who, when he puts his mind to it, succeeds in everything he does. Not a dancer until the age of 14, he was admitted into New World School of the Arts High School just seven months after he began formal training in dance.
“Dance is my form of mental and physical rejuvenation — my way of stepping out of the world,” Aranzales said. “New World School of the Arts has kindled a passion for the arts within me. My live goal is to support and save the arts, allowing everyone — specially the youth — to experience its beauty and therapeutic effect.”
Aranzales was born in Bogota, Colombia, and is the oldest of four siblings, three boys and a girl. He credits his siblings with the inspiration to pursue a career in the medical field, saying he was “struck by the complexity and the beauty of the brain, passionate about human personality, development and relationships, and inspired by my baby siblings, I am pursuing a career in Pediatric Neurology.”
With a perfect 4.0 GPA and an impressive 6.07 weighted GPA, Aranzales also is active in a number of extracurricular activities at NWSA and outside the school. He is president of the French Honor Society, vice-president of the Math Honor Society, member of the National Honor Society, member of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and a volunteer at Miami Children’s Hospital.
At Harvard University, Javier plans to “be a big part of the Latino and LGBT communities,” and is quick to offer two of his favorite quotes that inspire him to continue his involvement as he continues in his career path: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — by Mahatma Gandhi, and “There are no red lights in life — just go” — by Hanna Montana.
The nation’s largest minority scholarship program, UNCF’s GMS offers its scholars academic support, mentoring and leadership training, helping them graduate from higher education at a rate of almost 80 percent in five years. In 2009-10 Aurelia Javier, visual arts students from New World School of the Arts, was awarded the Gates Millennium Award.
For information about New World School of the Arts, call at 305-237-3135 or visit www.nwsa.mdc.edu.