ATLANTA, Ga. -- Every year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation picks a thousand students from all over the country and sends them to college for free.
This year, nearly two dozen of them are from Atlanta.
In fact, the Atlanta Public School System has the third highest number of award recipients in the country.
However, the students at Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School are on to something great; when it comes to the senior class, 1 in 50 is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar.
It's nothing less than extraordinary. Just like the students themselves.
"It's a very overwhelming feeling," said Maya Knight, one of the four winners at the school. "But at the same time, it humbles you to know somebody chose me out of thousands of students to be a Gates Scholar."
Knight wants to own her own animation company and break down barriers for women and minorities in that industry.
Wade' Ruff, another Gates Scholar at the school, wants to become an attorney so he can help bring justice to the poor.
"They cannot afford to pay a lawyer," he said. "So they end up with a public defender and more likely than not they end up being incarcerated."
Washington High has led APS with their number of Gates Scholars for three years. This year, however, they tied with Midtown's Grady High School for top honors.
The faculty at Washington sees itself as an extended family, with extended hours.
"During the school day, after school, on Saturdays... we've been up here working with the students," said Tiauna Crooms, the Washington High Senior Academy Principal. "We've also created workshops for those students who pretty much are self motivated to go that extra mile."
The Gates Millennium Scholarship supplements tuition and fees for both undergraduate and post graduate work.
"Bard College is the third most expensive college in the nation," said Maya Knight. "So tuition is a little over $50,000 and room and board will be like $12,000 or more."
Maya has been awarded more than $300,000 in total scholarships and Wade' nearly a million.
But for both, the reaction of their parents about the Gates scholarship was priceless.
"When she opened it she screamed, and I immediately got in the car and drove home," recalled Wade' Ruff about his mother's reaction.
"We just hugged and reminisced about the hard work we put in."