Academy at Smith Senior Awarded Gates-Millennium Scholarship

Tor  Peter Tor, senior at the Academy at Smith, recently received one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country, the Gates-Millennium Scholarship (GMS).

Established in 1999 with the goal of developing Leaders for America’s Future™, the GMS program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GMS program removes the financial barriers to education for high-performing, low-income students. Each year it enables 5,000 students to attend and graduate from 800 of the most selective private and public schools in the country, including Ivy League colleges, flagship state universities, UNCF member institutions and other minority-serving institutions.

Tor, originally from South Sudan, arrived in the U.S. in 2007. During his time at the Academy at Smith, Tor became president of the Men of Invictus Male Mentoring Group, president of the Volunteer Club, is a member of the Smith High Varsity Soccer Team and will receive his Service Learning Diploma this year after devoting 288 hours to service.

“When we keep God first in our life, He will take us places,” says Tor. “I believe that winning the Gates Millennium Scholarship is an example of this quote.”

“It is rare to come across a student who transitions into the American school system at a disadvantage, but does not let that disadvantage define or limit him. In my 16 years of teaching, I found that student and his name is Peter Tor,” says English teacher Ronnette Marie Purdie. “Because of his drive to excel against all odds and his heart for his fellow man, I felt that Peter was a perfect candidate for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. That is also why I was proud to nominate him for the scholarship. Peter Tor is a world changer in the making.”

After graduation, Tor plans to go to Liberty University to pursue a career in medicine and ministry.

“I want to encourage people to live life to the fullest,” says Tor.

Tor is one of two GCS students to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The second is Kaelan McCone, a senior at the Early College at Guilford.