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New Orleans High Schooler’s $9.7m in Scholarship Offers Surpasses Record

Dennis Barnes

Dennis Maliq Barnes, a New Orleans high schooler, has broken what is regarded to be a US record after receiving more than $9.7 million in scholarship offers from almost 140 American colleges and universities, breaking another Louisianan’s prior record.

Barnes recently made global headlines after his school issued a press release stating that he was approaching an apparent – if unofficial – four-year-old record of $9.4 million after hearing back from approximately 125 of the more than 180 universities to which he had applied.

As of Friday, he had heard back from another 11 or so universities, bringing his total offered academic aid to nearly $300,000 more than the previous record, according to a representative for International High School, where Barnes is ready to graduate. Barnes believes he will receive at least $10 million in scholarship offers if every institution to which he applied responds.

According to International High School spokesperson Steve Schulkens, the school has solid cause to believe Barnes has received more total dollars in scholarship offers than any other college-bound senior in the United States.

When Normandie Cormier graduated from Early College Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2019, she got well under $9.5 million in scholarship offers from approximately 140 colleges and sought recognition from Guinness World Records.

Guinness has stated that it does not keep such a record. Meanwhile, Cormier claims Guinness told her back then that it had not found a person with more offered college scholarship money in the US than her, but the organization could not recognize her as a world record-holder due to differences in higher education systems around the world.

Nonetheless, Cormier, a graduate student who now lives in New Orleans, said she is as proud of Barnes as anyone else because he exemplified how many young Americans are passionate about pursuing higher education.

Barnes, known to his friends as Maliq, is the president of the National Honor Society, and his fluency in Spanish has earned him a diploma from Spain’s educational, cultural, and sports ministry as well as an award from the European nation’s honorary consul in New Orleans.

His academic excellence enabled him advance from the sophomore and junior classes at International High, and he is set to graduate on May 24th despite being only 16 years old, making him younger than the average senior, according to officials.

Barnes has already begun to earn college credits through a dual enrollment program at Southern University in New Orleans. The resident of the New Orleans suburb of Marrero had planned to disclose his college plans for the autumn on Tuesday. He has also stated his desire to pursue a dual degree in computer technology and criminal justice.

In an interview with Yahoo News, Barnes said he was proud to show that young Black men like him could be “mentally and academically capable of surpassing expectations”.

“It’s something that I feel good to be leading in right now,” Barnes said in the interview. He added that he wanted to use the recent media attention on him “to encourage others … in the Black community – and just upcoming juniors that are going to be seniors next year – to just keep pushing forward.”

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