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‘Raising the Bar High’: New Orleans Teen Breaks Record with $9M In Scholarship Offers, 125 Acceptance Letters, and the Number Is Growing 

An African-American senior from a New Orleans high school has made U.S. history by securing more scholarships than any other student ever recorded.

When Dennis Barnes applied to 200 colleges across the nation and the appropriate scholarships offered at the institutions, it is unclear if he was trying to get placed in the Guinness Book of World Records or just aiming to have as many options for higher learning as possible.

New Orleans Teen Breaks Record with Total of $9 Million In Scholarship Offers and Acceptance Letters from 125 Colleges Posted by
Dennis Barnes applied to 200 colleges across the nation. (Photo: WWLTV/YouTube screenshot)

By the spring, the results of the 16-year-old’s efforts were greater than his wildest dreams.

“I submitted college applications in August with an eye on raising the bar high for college admissions. Decision letters were an overflow in my mailbox and hundreds of scholarships,” Barnes said.

Related: ‘I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams’: Atlanta Teen Snags 50 College Acceptance Letters and Over $1.3M In Scholarships

However, the International High School of New Orleans scholar did just that. He got accepted by more than 60 percent of the schools he applied to — and received a substantial scholarship to back the many admissions offers he received.

According to 11 Alive News, Barnes was accepted into 125 colleges and universities and received a combined offer of $9 million in scholarships.

This is not even the end for Barnes. His school notes there is an expectation for him to reach $10 million by the end of the month. Even at this point, the teen has beaten the record of a Lafayette high school senior who in 2019 was offered $8.7 million in scholarships.

Barnes proved to be an attractive applicant, approaching each institution with a cumulative grade point average of 4.98.

In addition to his high GPA, he also demonstrates leadership skills, having served as the executive president of the National Honor Society at his school, News 10 reports.

Nicknamed Maliq by his friends and family, Barnes was promoted early to 10th and 11th grade and still excelled in his studies — and according to his head of school, Dr. Adierah Berger, he was quick to help others in the school.

Academically, he surpassed all of his classmates but made exceptional strides in foreign languages.

Fluent in Spanish, he has received an official qualification from the Institute Cervantes on behalf of Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports and was awarded the Jose Luis Baños Award for Excellence in Spanish Language by Maria Page, honorary consul of Spain in New Orleans.

Now, with so many options, his family awaits to hear where he plans on going to school. On May 2, he is scheduled to announce his decision, three weeks before graduating on May 24.

Wherever he lands, he plans to pursue a dual undergraduate degree in computer science and criminal justice. He also brings some college credits along with him. For the last two years of high school, he has been involved in a dual enrolment program at IHSNO and the Southern University of New Orleans.

When asked what advice he has for rising high school seniors, he said, “The road to a successful future is to plan ahead, network with the collegiate partners, and know that If you can see your vision, you can achieve your goal.”

No one is shocked at Barnes’ success in high school. He has been getting straight A’s since he was in elementary school.

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