High school student earns degree, Gates Scholarship | News
DeJuan McBurnie has something to smile about.
"I ran to the mailbox when I got home, checked it, opened it, and I just ran around screaming for a while after I got the acceptance letter," he said.
That's what DeJuan McBurnie says he did after learning he was receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The Scholarship is only awarded to 1,000 students, out of 52,000 applicants.
In conjunction with financial aid, McBurnie won't have to pay for tuition, room and board, books and other expenses like food.
"It feels really nice to have that security, and to know that I won't have to struggle through college. I just have to focus on what I already want to do," he said.
What he wants to do is pursue a career in aerospace engineering, and he already has a head start.
McBurnie is receiving his associates degree in math from Middle Georgia State College. He's also receiving his high school diploma from Sprayberry High School in Marietta.
He's earning his degree through a dual enrollment program with the Georgia Academy of Aviation, Mathematics, Engineering and Science or G.A.M.E.S on Middle Georgia's campus.
"I really have a passion for aviation, I used to make model planes and RC Planes and stuff," McBurnie says, "People should really pursue their passion, and they really need to decide what they want to do early on.
He says people should find something to be passionate about at an early age, then figure out the best way to go about it and really stick to it.
At 17, McBurnie certainly knows how it can help.
He has a student's pilot's license and made his first solo flight in 2012, before he started at Middle Georgia State.