LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - For only the second time in the history of the Lake City School District, one of its students is getting a $500,000 scholarship.
"I applied for it Jan. 13, 2015. In March, I got an email saying I was a finalist," said Rebeca Pacheo, who is a senior at Lake City High School.
Pacheo applied for the Gates Millennium Scholarship because she said she didn't want the burden of paying for college to be shouldered by her parents.
The scholarship will allow Pacheo to not only get her undergraduate and graduate degrees but also her doctorate, all free of charge.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship is funded by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. Only 1,000 are given out each year.
Pacheo's confidence in her classroom abilities made her equally confident in applying for this scholarship.
"When I started high school, I always had honor classes," she said. "Then, I started taking dual-enrollment classes too."
Pacheo is the eldest of two children born to parents who immigrated to the Pee Dee and only speak Spanish.
Pacheo learned English in school and, in her spare time, serves as a translator for the Latino population.
She is also on her school's soccer team.
"I started playing my seventh-grade year," she said. "Then, in ninth grade I started playing varsity. I've always been mid-fielder or forward."
Pacheo plans to take her scholarship and use it right here at home for the first year. She'll attend Francis Marion University and then go to the Medical University of South Carolina.
She hopes to one day be a pediatrician.