New Orleans International High School senior Dennis Barnes, who goes by the name Maliq, a name his father says he gave him because it means "King," stood before a podium in New Orleans to make an announcement.
Barnes' school says he is the top college scholarship recipient in the country.
Earning $10.1 million in scholarship money and being accepted to over 180 colleges. Now he just had to pick where he wanted to go.
"Today I'm pleased to announce my final college decision for the fall of 2023. It is an honor and privilege to be accepted to the Ivy League Cornell University College of Engineering," Barnes told Scripps News.
He quickly grabbed a red Cornell University sweatshirt and draped it over his head, revealing his final decision.
The teen, surrounded by his mom, dad, and the rest of his family, humbly talked to us about his future plans to become immersed in the computer science field and work with artificial intelligence.
He says it's one of the reasons why he picked the sometimes chilly Ivy League in Ithaca, New York.
"I've always known I wanted to go to an Ivy League school. But when narrowing it down, Cornell has their college of engineering, and I feel that that would have been the best fit for what I'm trying to do and what I'm trying to accomplish," Barnes said.
Although Barnes is the record breaker when it comes to scholarships, no one has amassed that many or that much money, according to his school. He now joins a pretty prestigious group of high school students across the country who are cashing in on college.
In 2019, class valedictorian Kareem King of Cleveland, Ohio, garnered $2.5 million in scholarships and was accepted to 20 schools.
He ultimately chose Harvard University to study in the health field.
Michael Love, from Detroit, Michigan, is another multi-college scholarship recipient. He was accepted to 41 colleges, racking up $300,000 in scholarship money. He chose Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri.
And Virginia’s Courtney Toran, a standout student, an all-American cheerleader, and senior class president, racked up more than $750,000 in scholarships this year and was accepted into more than 20 colleges and universities.
Courtney says she'll study psychology with the goal of starting her own Christian-based psychology practice.
Meanwhile, Barnes has a little advice for students looking to excel the way he has: the sooner you start, the better.
"Especially from a young age. From the time you start ninth grade to your last day of school in 12th grade, you're going to be evaluated," said Barnes.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com