COVINGTON – Six teenagers from Newton, Rockdale and Walton counties are the recipients of the Horace J. Johnson Jr. Beyond the Bar Scholarship.

The Beyond the Bar Foundation awarded the $1,000 scholarships to Chad Helton, Zoe Mayo, James Rhee, Natalia Sanchez, Gabrielle Wood and Terrell Wright.

The foundation is a collaborative effort between the New Rock Legal Society, Newton County Bar Association, Rockdale County Bar Association and Walton County Bar Association to help students further their education at an accredited college or technical school.

“We had an increased number of stellar applications this year, and we were impressed with the level of excellence in the students competing for the scholarship,” said Superior Court Judge Cheveda McCamy, the foundation’s president.

The four bar associations formed the foundation in 2019 as a way for local attorneys to give back to youth in Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties. The scholarship was renamed in honor of Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. who passed away in July of 2020. Judge Johnson served as Superior Court judge in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit from 2002 until his death. He was a champion of community service, specifically helping local youth.

Chad Helton is graduating with honors from Social Circle High School and will be attending Georgia College and State University in the fall.

Terrell Wright, a student columnist for the Walton Tribune, will graduate from Walnut Grove High School and continue his education at Mercer University.

Zoe Mayo, a top 10 graduate of Newton County High School, plans on attending Spelman College.

Natalia Sanchez is Alcovy High School’s 2021 salutatorian and will further her education at the University of Georgia.

Gabrielle Wood is the 2021 valedictorian of the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology and will attend Howard University.

James Rhee is an honor graduate of Heritage High School and will go on to Boston University.

“These students have outstanding academics and extracurricular activities,” McCamy said. “We had a committee of five veteran lawyers who reviewed the applications, and we were blown away by these students’ essays and commitment to public service.”

To learn more information about the scholarship or receive an application for next year, contact

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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