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Freeport HS senior designated Gates Scholar earns full four-year scholarship

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Freeport High School senior Franco Ramirez has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Gates Scholarship, an award earned by only 300 students from a pool of 28,700 applicants nationwide this year. As a result of this remarkable honor, Ramirez’s full tuition for all four years of college will be completely funded when he begins attending New York University in the fall, where he plans to major in civil engineering.

“We are all extremely proud that the Gates Foundation has chosen to recognize one of our students as a Gates Scholar,” stated Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Congratulations to Franco for this outstanding distinction and the pride he brings to our school district and community. He is truly a role model for students following in his footsteps and I am sure we will continue to hear more about his great achievements in the future.”

The Gates Scholarship is a highly selective award that is designed to provide top minority students with the opportunity to maximize their potential in college without the burden of tuition. Criteria for consideration include the student’s outstanding academic record in high school — in the top 10 percent of the student’s class — exceptional leadership abilities and personal success skills. Throughout his four years at Freeport High School, Ramirez has gone above and beyond in all areas, which is why he is a worthy recipient of this recognition. 

With a grade-point average of 102.91, Ramirez is ranked fifth in his class of 491 students. He is a member of the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar With Distinction, an honored cadet with the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, and will be graduating in June earning a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Honor. Ramirez has consistently challenged himself academically, having enrolled in eight Advanced Placement and 10 Honors level classes during his time at Freeport High School. He has been an active member of several clubs and held a variety of leadership positions, including academics captain of the Leadership Club, platoon commander of the Drill Team, band manager of the Marching Band and a participant in the Peer Tutoring group. Ramirez has routinely volunteered his time and efforts for worthy causes, including back to school shopping and distribution of school supplies to families, holiday gift wrapping and walks for Lupus and Peace, all as part of Student Government.

Ramirez, who was accepted to each of the 14 colleges and universities he applied to, was nominated for the Gates Scholarship by Freeport High School social studies teacher Joshua Levitt and naval science teacher Major Donald R. Moore Jr. He has earned the respect of both his peers and staff members by displaying selflessness and a relentless work ethic.

“Franco is a focused, determined and hardworking student who is always willing to help others,” said guidance counselor Rosemarie Alario, who has known Ramirez since he was in fifth grade. “He’s so self-motivated, and one of the most unique things about him is how he motivates those around him. Franco is a fine young man and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Gates Scholarship than him.”