They're thinking doctorates. While other high school graduates are considering bachelor's degrees at local colleges, three Nogales grads are planning advanced degrees at the best universities in the world.

The three have been named Gates Millennium Scholars. The program selects 1,000 talented students every year for a scholarship to the college of their choice. The prestigious scholarships pay for tuition, books and meals, as well as travel assistance to visit their families.

"I want to become a doctor - now I can afford to go to college and then medical school," said Alberto Jeronimo of West Covina. "I'll be studying premed at Berkeley."

The 18-year-old comes from an immigrant family. Alberto was inspired to succeed by his father, who came here from Mexico to make a better life.

The Rowland Unified student has already achieved a lot. He's president of the Key Club, vice president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the El Planeta environmental club. Alberto also played doubles on the tennis team.

"We couldn't have done this without our counselor (Sara) Hall," Alberto noted. "She wrote our nominations and recommendations, helping us through the scholarship process."

The Nobles had to write nine essays to become Millennium scholars. They also had to have a minimum 3.33 GPA, though many like Alberto have a 4.5. All three Nogales teens are candidates for International Baccalaureate Diplomas and rank in the top 10 of their graduating class.

"This means more than just going to college for me," explained Kimberly Cardenas of La Puente. "I will be the first in my family to attend an American university."

The 17-year-old noted that her father had attended the University of Guadalajara, but quit when he couldn't afford the tuition. Cardenas moved to the United States for a better life.

Here, Kimberly is pursuing the American dream. She's been accepted to Cornell University, an Ivy League college in upstate New York.

"I'm interested in political science so I campaigned to re-elect President Obama," the teen said. "I want to work in government and public policy."

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