Milwaukee Public Schools
Press Release

3 MPS students earn ‘life-changing’ Gates college scholarships covering 100% of unmet need

May 6 celebration set for winners from MPS’ Carmen H.S. of Science and Technology, Milwaukee School of Languages and South Division H.S.; and partner College Possible

By - May 5th, 2014 09:01 am

MILWAUKEE (May 5, 2014) — Three Milwaukee Public Schools seniors are among just 1,000 students across the country to be announced Thursday as Gates Millennium Scholars, an honor that comes with a “good-through-graduation” scholarship to the college of each student’s choice covering 100% of unmet need.

The winners are:
Maria Capistran, of MPS’ South Division High School
Eric Isidoro, of MPS’ Milwaukee School of Languages
Fernando Mandujano, of MPS’ Carmen High School of Science and Technology

Capistran has been accepted into Alverno College and Mount Mary University; Isidoro has been accepted into the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others; and Mandujuano has been accepted into Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is awaiting news from the University of Chicago.

All the winners achieved their scholarship thanks to educators and counselors at their schools who have helped them along the way. Capistran and Isidoro also received support from College Possible Milwaukee, the local operation of a national nonprofit group, along with their school counselors.

“This is an enormous achievement,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “When the Gates Foundation says these scholarships have the potential to change lives, they’re absolutely right. Congratulations to the students, their families, educators and partners in the MPS family who made this remarkable accomplishment possible.”

“Earning a Gates Millennium Scholarship is a significant achievement, and we couldn’t be prouder of our students Eric and Maria,” said College Possible Executive Director Edie Turnbull. “With their College Possible coaches alongside to help them navigate the path to college, both students were able to be successful in securing funding that will cover their college costs all the way to completion of their bachelor’s degrees. These two are great examples of what our students can achieve with hard work, determination and support.”

Patricia Hoben, Head of Schools, Carmen Schools of Science and Technology, said “Fernando is a true emerging leader who manifests the college and career readiness and community engagement abilities we envision for all Carmen students by the time they graduate from high school. With the exceptional support of College Transition Coordinator Beth Mesrobian, Fernando and all members of Carmen’s Class of 2014 have been accepted to college.”

The scholarships mark the second straight year that MPS has seen three Gates Scholars.

The students will be honored May 6 at 10 a.m. along with representatives of their schools and College Possible at MPS’ Milwaukee School of Languages, 8400 W. Burleigh Street, Milwaukee 53222. Media are invited and encouraged to attend and all attendees should arrive by 9:45 a.m.!

News of the scholarships comes as MPS continues to increase college and career readiness efforts including:

– Opening two College Access Centers with late and weekend hours to help demystify the application process
– Comprehensive literacy and math/science plans aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards to put students on a track to college and career success
– TEAM GEAR UP, which supports students, families and school staff to improve academic preparation and an understanding of pathways to postsecondary education
– Nearly doubling ACT participation from 43% in 2007-08 to more than 80% in 2011-12

The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999 with a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to “promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.” The program provides scholars with personal and professional development through leadership programs and academic support throughout their college careers.

College Possible™ is making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.  Launched in 2008, College Possible Milwaukee serves more than 2,500 low-income high school and college age students through its college access and completion programs. In 2013-14, College Possible’s innovative and award-winning model serves over 15,000 students in Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin with plans to reach 20,000 students annually in 10 locations across the country by 2020. According to a recent Harvard study, the program more than doubles a student’s chances of enrolling in college.  More information at
This news is available online at

About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest school district, is expanding college and career readiness efforts and continuing to implement innovative reforms that give every student the opportunity to succeed. MPS’ high-quality school options for 3-year-olds to high school seniors feature school climates in which positive behavior is reinforced; certified, highly-trained teachers; 21st-century learning technology for students; and curriculum aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which set a clear, high bar for the topics students must master at each grade level. MPS’ Class of 2013 earned $24 million in scholarships and the district is home to some of the state’s best high schools according to the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. More MPS news is available at

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