An aspiring multi-media journalist was used to writing, filling out college applications and applying for scholarships. But when she was presented with a scholarship packet that was 22 pages long, her jaw dropped.

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An aspiring multi-media journalist was used to writing, filling out college applications and applying for scholarships. But when she was presented with a scholarship packet that was 22 pages long, her jaw dropped.

“Oh my God! That was the largest packet I’ve had to fill out. I had to write seven essays, and the deadline was on my brother’s birthday, Jan. 12,” Chivone Smith said about the application for the Bill and Melinda Gates lifetime scholarship award, also known as the Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

Smith is a graduating senior at the Big Picture High School on 27th and Dearborn Streets, and ranked No. 1 in her class.

The 18-year-old who said she’s steeped in “family, friends and the community” found out about the scholarship from her counselor. Then in March, she was notified that she received the coveted scholarship, which pays for her college tuition, and room and board, from undergraduate and beyond at the school(s) of her choice.

Smith will be using her award for journalism studies at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

“It will also pay for me to get my doctorate, as long as I continue to fit the criteria,” Smith said.

Smith is among 1,000 youth nationwide to win awards this year, in the programs 10th Anniversary award class. Since 1999, the GMS has provided good-through-graduation college scholarships to students from low-income families.

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