- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - Two Southfield Public Schools students have been selected as 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars and will have all of their college expenses covered.

Southfield High School’s Breanah Boyd and University High School Academy’s Jamie Blackwell have received the scholarships, according to the district.

The program is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was established in 1999 to provide ethnic minorities opportunities to complete undergraduate college education in any discipline area. It also covers select graduate programs.

“I knew in ninth grade I wanted to go to college and I just had to figure out how I was going to get there because I knew my parents couldn’t afford it,” Boyd said in a release. “Ultimately, I was just going to go to the school that gave me the most money because I had to go where I could financially support myself. But now that I’ve received this scholarship, it has opened so many more doors for me.”

Boyd is class president and salutatorian at Southfield High School. Blackwell is her class valedictorian. She said her mother encouraged her to apply for the scholarship.

“I thought there was no way I would be chosen out of 53,000 applicants,” Blackwell said. “I just really hope I can set the bar high academically for my younger siblings.”

Boyd and Blackwell are the fifth and sixth students from Southfield Schools to receive the scholarships, the district said.

The district is in Oakland County and just north of Detroit.

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