By Etta Jones
Despite life challenges that would disorient most others, young and old, Nicolas Ross is looking forward to graduating from Fremont High School with a 4.31 grade point average and attending UC Berkeley in the fall.Since ninth grade, 10 of his friends have died as a result of gun violence in Oakland. He recently endured the sentencing of his mother, who received life in prison without parole, and the passing of his paternal grandmother.In the face of these difficulties and family crises, he has remained focused on his education.
Ross is the recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholars Award, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a scholarship that will give him financial and academic support throughout his college career.
“I live directly in back of the school, so I never had an excuse not to attend school or be late for class,” said Ross. “In order to stay focused and to avoid getting into trouble in the streets, I participated in various school and church activities.”
The young man is president of the senior class, captain of the Varsity Debate Team and the Track Team, as well as president of Fremont’s Prom Committee.
An active member of his church, he attends the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, where he belongs to the youth department and the usher board.
Ross says he is grateful to his father, the “rock” in his life who has encouraged him to tap into his potential. He aspires to become a lawyer and help better his community as a future leader.