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News

June 12, 2018

Two recent Newton High School graduates—Louis Grady and Kiara Cannon—are among the first 300 students in the United States awarded the new Gates Scholarship, a highly selective, full scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors. According to The Gates Scholarship website, “ starting in 2018, the scholarship will be awarded to 300 top student leaders each year with the intent of promoting their academic excellence through college graduation, and providing them the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Among other criteria, scholarship recipients must be in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale and be in the top ten percent of his or her graduating class. Grady is Newton High School’s 2018 valedictorian while Cannon is this year’s fifth-honor graduate. Both students attended the Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School (ALANHS).

“I am extremely proud of both Louis and Kiara for this outstanding accomplishment,” said Dr. Shannon Buff, principal of Newton High School. “To be two of only 300 recipients in our country of this prestigious scholarship is truly remarkable and a testament to both their leadership abilities and their academic accomplishments in high school. Louis and Kiara are representative of the high caliber students we have at Newton High School and I look forward to seeing all they accomplish in college and beyond.”

Grady will use his scholarship to attend Georgia Tech in the fall where he plans to major in mechanical engineering.

“I chose Georgia Tech because it’s one of the top engineering schools in the nation and it’s less than an hour from home,” said Grady. “My goal is to work for a Fortune 500 company and be an innovator or invent something that has the possibility to change the world.”

He noted it was an “unreal feeling” when he learned he had received the scholarship.

“It definitely lifted a huge weight off of me and my family,” he added. “I really enjoy education and now I won’t have the burden of paying for college. I can actually do what I love to do for free and don’t have to burden my parents with the cost of college.”

While Grady has chosen to attend college in Georgia, Cannon will soon be packing her bags to head north to New Hampshire, to attend Dartmouth College, where she hopes to major in physics.

“My goal is to earn my PhD and become a nuclear physicist,” said Cannon. “I chose Dartmouth because of the unified, community environment at the school. It’s a smaller community and dedicated to advanced education.”

She noted she was “super excited and amazed” when she learned she had received the Gates Scholarship.


“One goal I had was to make sure my parents did not have to pay for my education,” she said. “This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I now have the financial freedom to excel in education at the college of my choice!”

“What a tremendous honor to be among the first 300 recipients of the Gates Scholarship,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System. “Louis and Kiara have certainly set the bar high for next year’s senior class. I am very proud of them and wish them nothing but the very best in all of their future endeavors. The sky is the limit where they are concerned!”

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