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Newton High, NCCA student named Georgia Scholar
Dhakiya Knights also is school's 2023 valedictorian, STAR student
Dhakiya Knights
Newton High School and NCCA STEM Institute senior Dhakiya Knights has been named a Georgia Scholar for 2023. - photo by Courtesy of Newton County School System

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton High School and NCCA STEM Institute senior Dhakiya Knights has been named a Georgia Scholar for 2023. 

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods on Tuesday, March 28, named Knights as one of 154 seniors from across the state to be given the award.

It follows other recent honors for Knights, including being named Newton High School’s Class of 2023 valedictorian, earning a full ride Stamps Scholarship to Mercer University, and being named Newton High's STAR Student for 2023. 

“Being a Georgia Scholar is an honor,” said Knights. “I am proud to have years of hard work acknowledged this way. More than that, I'm grateful for my community which has supported me and helped me reach this new height.”

The Georgia Department of Education identifies and honors high school seniors who have achieved excellence in school and community life through the Georgia Scholar program. Each Georgia Scholar receives a seal for their diploma.

“I extend my sincerest congratulations to the 2023 Georgia Scholars," Woods said. “These 154 Class of 2023 seniors worked hard, became leaders in their schools and communities, and took advantage of the opportunities offered in Georgia public schools. 

"I wish them continued success as they embark on their futures, including plans for after high school and beyond. I know they'll continue to make us all proud."

Georgia Scholars carried exemplary course loads during their four years of high school, performed excellently in all courses, successfully participated in interscholastic events at their schools and communities, and assumed leadership roles in extracurricular activities sponsored by their schools. 

In addition to course requirements, Georgia Scholars must have a minimum combined score of 1360 on the SAT at one sitting or a composite score of 31 at one test sitting on the ACT. The student must also have a non-weighted, cumulative grade point average of at least 3.75 on a 4.0 scale in core courses. 

Georgia Scholars are required to be registered to vote, must show evidence of self-esteem and concern for others in day-to-day activities, and must have participated in at least three different competitive interscholastic activities such as athletics, music and literary events, fairs, exhibits and more. 

Finally, Georgia Scholars must have been appointed by a school official or elected to positions of leadership in a minimum of two different organizations sponsored by the school and also show evidence of leadership in a minimum of two different organizations outside of school.

“Success like this takes years of dedication and hard work,” said Chad Walker, principal of Newton College & Career Academy. “I am extremely proud of all of the success that Dhakiya has earned."

Knights plans to major in neuroscience with a minor in communication at Mercer University, a private institution in Macon. She would then like to pursue advanced degrees including a medical degree and doctorate. 

Ultimately, she would like to become a physician and a biomedical researcher and bridge the gap between research and field medicine, Knights said.

She also applied to numerous other universities, including Yale, Columbia, New York University, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Georgia College & State University, Georgia State University, Wesleyan, Baylor, Augusta, Emory, Cornell, and Harvard. 

Knights took numerous Advanced Placement classes including Psychology, World History, Calculus, Language, Literature, U.S. History, Statistics, Seminar, Macroeconomics and Biology. 

She also participated in extracurricular activities including tennis, HOSA, National Honor Society, Beta Club, STEM Council, and the Associate Board of Directors.