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  • Writer's picturejohn kepler

High school student who received $10 million in scholarships picks college

A Louisiana high school senior who was offered a record $10 million in scholarships from nearly 200 colleges announced he will be attending Cornell University in the fall.


During a press conference Friday, Dennis "Maliq" Barnes revealed he would be attending the Ivy League university's school of engineering to pursue a degree in computer science.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be accepted to the Ivy League," Barnes said as he pulled on a bright red Cornell sweatshirt, surrounded by family members also donning the school's gear.


A 16-year-old senior at the International High School of New Orleans, Barnes received offers from at least 188 colleges and universities, CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV reported. Despite his multitude of options, Barnes said he always knew he wanted to attend Cornell, and choosing another school "was never really an option."


"Once I received the admission, I knew that's where I was going," Barnes said.

The teen said he plans to pursue a career in software development, and chose Cornell due to the strength of its engineering program — and its location in New York.

"I love my city, but I do want to venture out and experience new things and see different things that I haven't seen before," the New Orleans native said.

Barnes' $10 million-plus scholarship haul is the most of any college-bound senior in U.S. history, his high school said, breaking a Guinness World Record held by another Louisiana high school senior who received nearly $9 million in scholarships in 2019. The school is contacting Guinness to make Barnes' record official, CBS affiliate WWL-TV reported.

While Barnes didn't specify the amount of his scholarship from Cornell, he said he was "very happy with the offer."

The senior pursued college credits while dual enrolled at Southern University of New Orleans for the past two years, according to WWL-TV, and will graduate from the International High School of New Orleans later this month.

Barnes cited his belief in God, prioritizing his education and staying focused on his goals as keys to his success.

"It's easy to get distracted as a teenager," Barnes said. "There's nothing wrong with having fun and doing different things, but I think that whenever you have your mind made up and you're determined to get something done then it can have a definite effect."

"Where there's a will there's a way," Barnes continued. "So when you have a will to get done what you want to get done, it's definitely going to happen and your dreams and aspirations are going to come true."

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