EASTON, Pa. - Juan Pablo Sanchez, a senior at Easton Area High School, says his life changed when he opened his mail on Good Friday.
"When I did open it and I saw the first word was 'congratulations' I just went into a state of shock," he said.
Sanchez had received notification that he had been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The scholarship, awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, covers up to ten years of education at any college or university of the recipient's choosing, paying for undergrad as well as graduate studies in particular fields.
Sanchez was one of 52,000 applicants nationwide.
After months of work and eight essays, the foundation sent out approval letters to Sanchez and the other 999 deserving students mid-April.
"I was hoping to get it but I wasn't hoping to receive it," said Sanchez.
Sanchez says he's getting started at Drexel University in Philadelphia this fall.
"I want to be a trauma surgeon some day so I'll be majoring in biochemistry and going to grad school for medical school," he said.
After watching his older brother Anderson Medina work full time as he made his way through college, Sanchez says he was inspired to continue his studies no matter the cost."I'm really grateful to have him and he's very hardworking and he's definitely inspired me to be like him and be successful someday," he said.
"It just made me feel proud and honored just to have a brother that accomplished something so big," said Medina.
The application process began in August 2013 and included recommendation letters from Sanchez's DECA advisor and marketing teacher, Jason Felton as well as Easton Mayor Sal Panto.
Allentown, PA 18102