Newton High School (NHS) seniors Tony Collins and Joshua Suber are among the 89 Georgia students named 2016 Gates Millennium scholars. The NHS students, like fellow Newton County School system students, Tyrik Grant of Alcovy High School and Jesse Eldell of Eastside High School, will receive a good-through-graduation, full-ride scholarships to use at any accredited college or university in the country.
Suber, who was named valedictorian at NHS, will attend Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. During the school year, he took seven advance placement (AP) classes, said Francene A. Breakfield, 12th Grade Counselor and Newton County School System Lead Secondary Counselor. “Joshua is just brilliant. And he works on top of that [the academically-challenging coursework].”
Collins will attend Davidson College in North Carolina.
“Tony is just an extraordinary student. He’s going to end up with 38 credits from college courses,” Breakfield said. He took seven AP classes, some at the University of Alabama, some at Georgia Perimeter College and some at the Newton County College and Career Academy.
He was also the homecoming king and played football, she said. He also received an athletic scholarship to Davidson.
The expectation is, she said, once a Gates Scholar has completed their education, they will come back and give to the community. “A lot of students come back every year to visit,” she said. They meet with students interested in applying to the Gates Millennium Scholar program. “It has been very helpful.”
Scholarship recipients, she said, are “just grateful for [the scholarship], to not have to worry about finances. They can go to college and concentrate on academics.”
Since 2012, Breakfield said, there have been 13 Gates Millennium Scholars from Newton High school.
To qualify for the scholar program, students must be African-American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian, Pacific Islander or Hispanic-American; have at least a 3.3 grade point average on a 4.0 scale; and must meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.
The scholars program was established in 1999 with a $1 billion dollar endowment from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation. The class of 2016 is the final class of high school seniors named Gates Millennium Scholars. Administered by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the GMS Program, expected to end in 2029, will have selected 20,000 students from low-income backgrounds to receive scholarships covering the cost of undergraduate and graduate school at any accredited college or university.