Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient is more than just brains

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two Ben Davis High School seniors were just selected as Gates Millennium Scholars. It’s a full-ride college scholarship that covers everything through graduation.

To even be considered is quite the feat. The application is daunting. Not only do you have to at least have a 3.3 on an unweighted GPA scale, you also have to demonstrate that you deserve this scholarship by exemplifying what it means to be a contributing member of your community.

“And he just has this super, inquisitiveness about himself and I always knew that Derrick was really special from that perspective,” said Planting Dreams Foundation Executive Director Clarence Abernathy.

18-year-old Derrick J. Moore II will graduate 15th in his class with a 4.82 GPA. He’s one of 1,000 students out of 52,000 applicants selected to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

“I was crying a little bit too, my eyes were both watering. And I was just trying to hide from people crying. I was just like, ‘Oh, thank God,’” said Moore.

Derrick was a part of the 2013 Mayors Youth Council, a 21st Century Scholar, and an international Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

“I did finance so I could learn more about finance so I don’t go to college and just try to switch my degree,” said Moore.

He’s also a member and volunteer for the Planting Dreams Foundation. PDF helps African American males learn what it takes to become successful. Abernathy says it’s a time where violence among young African Americans fills the news and is thankful that the many who are excelling and contributing back to their communities are being recognized.

“So, it really touches my heart that you all would take the time to really put emphasis on something that’s positive,” said Abernathy.

Derrick is doing his part to set a positive example for anyone who could follow in his footsteps. He eventually helped in strategic planning, business models and even helped build PDF’s website.

“He’s a self-starter. I mean, that’s probably the best way to describe him. You kind of give him a task and then he goes to work,” said Abernathy.

He’s a student who wants to work hard to succeed and give back. Derrick plans to go to Azusa Pacific University in southern California and study finance and biblical studies in hopes of someday becoming a missionary.

Of course the other scholar recipient, Michael Araya, has his fair share of extracurriculars as well. He’s a part of the Giant Kings Minority Leadership Development, IU Simons Cancer Research Intern, a tutor and a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House just to name a few.

To find out eligibility requirements for the Gates Millennium Scholarships click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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