Billionaire Bill Gates makes surprise visit to Howard High

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Microsoft founder Bill Gates made his first trip to Chattanooga today to visit students at Howard High.

He was the surprise guest at the school’s annual awards program on the last day of classes.

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Students held a pep rally and student musical programs, and then their surprise speaker took the stage.

Gates topped a couple of the awards, sending physics teacher Sean Brown to Florida for a week to attend a Gates program.

And he gave the student winner of the Resilience Award, Laila Smith, a Microsoft Pro tablet and gear.

The retired businessman spoke to the students for about five minutes on the importance of education.

“I want to encourage students to finish high school and seek a career that makes you happy to get up and go to work every morning.”

He toured the school and was gone.

Executive Principal Dr. Leandra Ware tells us the school is currently working on a partnership with the Gate’s Foundation.

In 1975, Bill Gates co-founded Mircrosoft and built it into the largest computer software company in the world.

30 years later, he left the company to establish his foundation to tackle the world’s biggest problems like health and education.

Forbes ranks Gates as the second richest person in the world.

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