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Posted: April 23, 2013 9:16 p.m.

NHS seniors receive Gates scholarships

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The winners of the Gates Millennium Scholars scholarships are pictured above. Each scholarship can be used for any major at any university. (Seated, from left) Imari Daniels, Ali Punjani and Akila Triggs. (Standing, from left) Alex Grady and Steve...

Five Newton High School seniors have been awarded up to $500,000 in scholarships to use toward their college education.

NHS Principal Craig Lockhart said five out of six finalists received notice that they have won Gates Millennium Scholars scholarships.

Students Imari Daniels, Alex Grady, Steven Lawson, Ali Pujani and Akila Triggs were all very excited about this opportunity, Lockhart said.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program annually awards 1,000 full scholarships to assist students in pursuing post-secondary education.

The scholarship can be used to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at an accredited college or university of the recipient’s choice.

Recipients also have the opportunity to earn master’s and doctoral degrees with the funding.

GSM was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 1999 to provide outstanding, low-income African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American student’s opportunities to pursue an undergraduate college education.

“This opportunity allows our students to focus on their academics. It removes all financial burdens and stress that your average college student may face,” Lockhart said.

Francene Breakfield, NHS financial aid counselor, said she was proud of the hard work the students put in to obtain the scholarships.

“The application process was quite rigorous. I want to say special thanks to the parents, administrators, counselors, Kia James, the Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School coordinator, and the teachers who served as readers, nominators and recommenders for our students.”

Lockhart said Daniels, Grady, Lawson, Pujani and Triggs will be recognized at Senior Honors Night on May 8 and during their graduation ceremony on May 24.

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