GPC student Natalee Dukes named Coca-Cola Scholar

Contact: Roger Barnes
Phone: 678-891-2693
Fax: 678-891-2966
Author: Roger Barnes

Georgia Perimeter College Student Natalee Dukes has spent the last two years working diligently toward her goal of becoming a doctor. She’s also amassed an impressive collection of awards and honors along the way. 

Dukes has recently been named a Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. She also has been named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Georgia Academic Team and she is GPC Newton Campus’ Regents Outstanding Scholar. Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for two-year colleges. 

“Natalee looked for an academically challenging environment and found it at GPC,” Georgia Perimeter President Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli said. “Academic success is the product of the combined work of dedicated students and a talented faculty. The quality and reputation of our award-winning faculty continues to draw outstanding students to Georgia Perimeter. On behalf of the GPC family, we congratulate Natalee on her many honors.” 

In May, Dukes will leave GPC with a 4.0 GPA and two weeks later ¬she’ll get a diploma from Heritage High School. She’ll transfer to a four-year college in the fall as a junior—a full two years ahead of her peers. 

As a 16-year old sophomore at Heritage High School in Rockdale County, Dukes decided she was ready to leave Heritage and become a full-time Dual Enrollment/Move On When Ready student at Georgia Perimeter. Dukes took advantage of a new statewide program that allows high school students with a 3.0 GPA or higher to enroll fulltime at secondary institutions for college and high school credit. 

“I wanted more freedom and more of a challenge,” said Dukes. “I knew I could enroll at Georgia Perimeter and I could finish high school and my first two years of college at the same time.” 

For her academic success, Dukes has been named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar, which comes with a $1,250 stipend and a special medallion. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation recognized Dukes during the Phi Theta Kappa state honors ceremony.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students,” said J. Mark Davis, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.” 

In addition to the honor from Coca-Cola, Dukes has been named to the PTK All-Georgia Academic Team. For this honor Dukes had to demonstrate academic excellence as well as service to her campus community. Dukes served as a presidential ambassador at GPC. 

“Being named to the All-Georgia Academic Team is a really huge honor,” says Dukes who plans to major in pre-med at the University of Georgia. “I didn’t expect this recognition and I am honored to be considered a member of the All-Georgia Academic Team.” 

According to Rod Risley, executive director of Phi Theta Kappa, brilliant students like Dukes should be recognized, encouraged and supported. 

“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for their vote of confidence in community college students by investing in their futures,” Risley said. “Their support is especially welcome during this challenging economic climate, as more and more community college students need additional resources to help them complete their degrees.” 

Dukes said leaving high school early and coming to GPC was the right decision. 

“I knew I was ready for a new academic environment,” Dukes said. “I visited the Newton Campus and saw it as a perfect fit. At GPC I had the chance to hear insights I would not have been exposed to at high school. GPC was challenging and rewarding.”

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Georgia Perimeter College, the third largest institution of the University System of Georgia, serves more than 25,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit