Monday, May 9, 2016

Joshua Toran III - A special interview with the Gates Millennium Scholar

I'm happy to make my special interview with Joshua Toran III AugBball's first feature of someone who does not play basketball. Toran made a splash last Saturday when his selection as a Gates Millennium Scholar was front page news in the Augusta Chronicle.

Of 53,000 applicants, only 1,000 Gates Millennium Scholars were chosen. Joshua was our area's only selection, and he is one of 90 statewide. The award will cover his undergraduate AND graduate school expenses at the University of Georgia. As the Augusta Chronicle article described and Joshua discussed in the interview above, the Gates program is a rigorous process (nine 500 word essays and multiple references are required) that began with a discussion with his mother when he was in the fifth grade.

As I expected, communicating with Joshua throughout the interview process uncovered many more interesting accomplishments and details about his impressive journey. His short history is filled with impressive feats. On the right is a short list of some of the highlights. And here are some of the stories we covered in detail during the interview:

As a fourth grader, Joshua won an oratorical contest his mother encouraged him to enter at Belle Terrace Presbyterian Church. The other contestants were high schoolers!

In 2014, Toran was nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC. Joshua worked (he is currently employed at Hibbert Sports) and saved, he earned a special scholarship, and he even raised funds through a "go fund me" campaign, to be able to make the three day trip. In the interview he describes the ice storm induced travel adventures he and his mother encountered getting to the event.

Joshua also talks about being elected mayor by 30 peers at a week long Georgia Boys State event. And he describes the the benefits of being involved in the Youth Leadership of Augusta group.

Toran told me he spends an average of three hours every day working to maintain his GPA (his senior class rank is 9th), applying for scholarships, and participating in special programs. Add that to the 35-40 hours he spends at school and the 15-20 hours he works each week to understand how he achieves such impressive results. The "big" Gates award was well deserved.

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