Parkview's Youngest Graduate Tapped as One of Two LRSD Gates Millennium Scholars for 2016

Contributed by Judith Murray, Parkview Arts/Sciences Journalism Instructor


Picture of Isha HortonIsha Horton, 16, daughter of Isha Jones and Frank Horton, of North Little Rock, found out in April that she hit the scholarship jackpot.

Chosen from a pool of 53,000 applicants, Horton beat the odds and was chosen as a Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient. The scholarship is not a specific amount, instead, it pays tuition, books and living expenses from her bachelor’s degree all the way through doctoral studies. Horton plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, then move to another college for her post graduate work.

Horton said she was accepted to Harvard, but her parents want her to stay closer to home so she can “grow more” before she goes out into the world.

Horton is Parkview’s youngest graduate, because she skipped both second and 11th grades in school.

” I was ecstatic when I found out that out of 53,000 applicants, I was chosen as a scholar. This scholarship is a life-changing blessing, because I will never have to worry about funding my education. I believe in lifelong learning, and after I complete my doctorate in Computer Science, I will likely venture into another field. I am truly appreciative of all of the adults that helped me get to this point and I will continue to value education and work to improve my community,” Horton said.

Horton said she was nominated by communications teacher Ms. Philicia Bell, and was recommended by her counselor, Ms. Mary Taylor. Both Horton’s mother, and Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School principal Dr. Dexter Booth encouraged her to apply.

Horton said she finished the application in mid-January, and was notified that she was a finalist in March. On April 19, she found out that she would be one of only 1,000 students tapped for the honor.

In a rare distinction, with two scholars named in the district this year, Horton is joined by Hall High's Erica Braswell.  More on Braswell's story in a separate "Spotlight" article posted on the district's website.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMSP) is a highly selective scholarship that can be used for a student's undergraduate education. The scholarship can also be used for graduate studies in the fields of Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health or Science. In order to apply, you must have at least 3.3 cumulative GPA, be a U.S citizen or permanent resident, and be of one of the following ethnicities: African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American. The application process is fairly rigorous; a student must respond to eight essay prompts that describe their community and leadership involvement as well as their life goals. The student must also find a nominator and recommender to submit a statement about their character and leadership skills.