Araceli Patiņo, one of nearly 20,000 applicants, is a winner of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.


Winning this scholarship was not at all easy: Patiņo had to write eight essays that were each three pages long, have a nominator and a recommender which had to fill out forms, keep her grade point average at 3.8 or higher, and be a class minority.


"This scholarship is very hard to get. Twenty thousand students apply and only five percent are selected," said Hesperia High counselor Kris Freehling.


Patiņo struggled though the requirements for the scholarship, but it really paid off.


"The hardest part was writing the essays on my personal life," said Patiņo.


When Patiņo was applying for this scholarship, she was trying her best to make her application different than the other thousands of applicants that they would receive, something that would stand out amongst the rest.


"I was trying to make myself very unique so they would remember me," said Patiņo.


Freehling knew the difficulties of applying to this scholarship, but believed in Patiņo's abilities and encouraged her to go through the process.


"If all my students were like her I would not have a job. She is awesome," said Freehling.


Prior to finding out she had been selected in April, "my parents were worried of how they were going to get the money" for college, said Patiņo.


All the worries soon faded away, and Patiņo finally received her letter of acceptance to UCLA.


Patiņo is still undecided on what career path she will choose, however, she does not need to worry about any money for UCLA due to the 8 year full ride scholarship that the Gates Millennium Scholarship offers.


"When I got my acceptance letter, I cried for 20 minutes straight," said Patiņo.


With all her effort on getting this scholarship, it has taken the stress off of her and her parents and they are all relieved knowing that her future is set.


"It is a dream come true," said Patiņo.