INDIANAPOLIS - A Broad Ripple High School student is one of only 1,000 students in the country to receive the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship .
The scholarship -- funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- covers a full ride to any college or university in the country, all the way through a doctoral degree if the recipient chooses.
At 16, Alex Dunlap is poised to graduate Broad Ripple Magnet High School a year early in May. She knew all her hard work had paid off when she got the letter announcing her scholarship.
"Oh, I was ecstatic," she said. "I started crying, my mom started crying."
Dunlap plans to pursue her passion for languages.
"I'm going to study Spanish, French and Chinese in college with a focus in Arabic, I'm going to pick that one up as well," she said. "And after undergrad, I plan on attending law school."
Dunlap hopes to fight for the rights of children in foreign countries, but while her travels might take her worldwide, she plans to stay close to home for college.
"I've just recently decided to go to DePauw because they have such a great liberal arts program," she said. "Their study abroad program is great and exactly what I need because of my languages. Their language program is great. And I'm going to be entering as a Bonner scholar , which is a community service scholarship."
Beyond being a great student, Dunlap has a passion for community service. She teaches Spanish to inner-city kids, and she plans to keep volunteering.
She has this advice to other students.
"Always work hard, study hard and make sure you find something you're passionate about in high school," she said. "For me it was languages and it was music. And I was passionate and I loved doing it, so I always worked hard doing it."
Dunlap is the first student ever from Broad Ripple High School to become a Gates Scholar.
She'll meet the other 999 winners when Bill Gates flies them all out to meet each other and network.