Cyrus Lyday awarded Gates Millennium scholarship


Cyrus Lyday awarded Gates Millenium scholarship

By Emily Diamond, Editor-in-Chief

It is evident senior Cyrus Lyday has a way with words. After writing his way through eight long essay prompts, Lyday was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship—a full ride (including room and board) to any college or university in the United States.

As stated on the official website, “The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.”

Out of 53,000 applicants, Lyday, who is over a third Native American, was one of the 1,000 winners. “I didn’t expect it, honestly,” he said. After traveling to Stanford University this past summer for the College Horizons program—a college admissions workshop for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students—Lyday decided to “throw [his] hat in the ring.”

Lyday wrote eight long essays for the application, each with a maximum word count of 1,000 words. The essay prompts mostly related to Lyday as an individual and learner. “They asked me about my academic strength, academic weakness, stuff like that. I also wrote about forms of racism that I feel like I have received by living in a primarily white community my whole life,” said Lyday.

Although the essay prompts took Lyday a long time, writing is his specialty. “I mean, talking about yourself is easy. It was pretty natural for me,” he said.

Upon learning he had received the scholarship, Lyday said he couldn’t stop laughing. “I was just giddy, really enthusiastic. You know how people say, ‘It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders?’ It just felt like I weighed less overall.”

Lyday is active in numerous groups and communities. In addition to being an Editor-in-Chief of the Clarion and member of a recreational basketball league, Lyday volunteers at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). “I go there every Monday and tutor, or play games with the kids,” he said.

In the fall, Lyday will attend the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He plans to major in journalism or another form of media arts. “As of right now, my dream job would be to be an NBA game announcer. Obviously that’s a pretty specialized position, and it’s hard to say that I’m going to do that. But I know I’d like to go into some form of journalism,” said Lyday.

After the long application process and ultimate success, Lyday put it very simply. “I guess my man Bill saw something in my application that he liked,” he said.