Posts filed under ‘Student Spotlight’
School: Margaret Fain Elementary School
Whoever coined the expression, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” must have been thinking about Joe’Darrius Calloway. Challenges seem to compel Joe’Darrius to work harder and keep trying until he can claim victory – he never gives up.
Persistence has helped Joe’Darrius learn tricks on the basketball court, like dribbling the ball between his legs and behind his back, and in the classroom. That persistence also pays off in the classroom.
“If I get a question wrong, I always keep trying until I get it right,” he says. He also tells himself to never settle for less than his best.
Earlier this year, Joe’Darrius – a challenge student and Math League member – made a ‘C’ on a math test. As a math enthusiast and Fain Junior Beta Club member, Joe’Darrius says the grade nearly sent him into a state of shock.
“I couldn’t believe I let myself make that grade. I was mad at myself, because I knew the right answers, but I didn’t take my time on the test.”
The grade prompted Joe’Darrius to push himself to do better on his next test – which he aced.
Fifth-grade teacher David Archibald teaches Joe’Darrius math, and he has seen the fifth-grader’s determination and persistence.
“Joe’Darrius pushes himself and others around him to excel in all that they do,” says Archibald.
Mr. Archibald has also noticed that Joe’Darrius consistently comes to class prepared and ready to learn – two simple actions that allow Joe’Darrius to absorb information and satisfy what Archibald calls, “an unyielding thirst for knowledge that never seems to end.”
Joe’Darrius also serves as a peer tutor, which allows him to help his classmates improve their understanding of difficult lessons. It’s a responsibility he enjoys.
“I really like it when I’m helping them with something hard and they finally get it,” he says.
Peer tutoring is one of many things Joe’Darrius loves about Fain. His Fain ‘fun list’ includes a recent field trip to the Cyclorama, school dances and preparing his science project, “Which Drink Stays the Fizziest?”, for the upcoming fair.
Away from school, Joe’Darrius loves reading books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – one of his favorites – and playing football and basketball with his friends. He would love to become a professional dirt bike rider for the X- Games someday, but if that doesn’t pan out, Joe’Darrius wants to design sneakers or work in a math-related field.
School: Venetian Hills
Only in second grade, Avryanna Holmes already understands how important it is to do her best in everything she touches, and the connection between doing her best and achieving success.
“I see that my grandmother does a good job, so I need to do a good job too, because I want to be like her. She motivates me to do my best,” says Avryanna, who adds that her grandmother always encourages her to succeed.
This grandmotherly encouragement has yielded remarkable results: since kindergarten, Avryanna has made straight A’s on her report cards; she reads at least five books every week, has passed more Accelerated Reader quizzes than anyone in the school, and has earned the Venetian Hills Accelerated Reader program “Top Reader” title; and the avid runner has won five medals for her impressive performance at various track competitions.
For Avryanna, doing her best also means helping others. So while she enjoys winning, Avryanna does not hold back when it comes to sharing the secrets to her success: She shares her strategies for passing the AR quizzes with her classmates, so that they can be successful, too.
That helpful nature has led Avryanna to set her eyes on becoming a doctor someday; the second-grader says she wants to be a doctor, because she likes helping people, and she wants to save lives. A career as a physician would be perfect for Avryanna, especially since she loves solving problems –solving problems is one reason she says math is her favorite subject.
Avryanna’s passion for learning is so strong, she loves learning subjects across the curriculum, and Venetian Hills has given her plenty of opportunities for that.
Avryanna sums it up by saying, “I enjoy school because you learn a lot of things…and I enjoy making friends, too.”
School: Hutchinson Elementary School
Jaden is an aspiring hip hop artist who hopes to change the world of rap through positive lyrics.
Last year, he wrote and performed his own original music, which his father produced. And in October, the duo performed an original song — which carried a drug-free theme — in front of the entire Hutchinson student body. The audience was so impressed with the father and son collaboration, they insisted on an encore performance. The star student admits that initially, he had butterflies when he performed, but the cheers from his classmates quickly put him at ease.
Before that performance, many of Jaden’s peers had never heard him rap, but after the Red Ribbon Week pep rally, they were fully aware – and impressed – with his verbal skills.
Jaden is not impressed with the current state of hip hop and believes it perpetuates negativity among young listeners. So he says once he becomes a well-known artist, he will focus on education, street smarts, and common sense.
Jaden’s father is a former hip hop musician, and Jaden calls him his biggest inspiration.
Submitted by Cassell Gray, Hutchinson Elementary music teacher and communications ambassador
School: Burgess-Peterson Academy
Jacob Thomas was recently named student of the month at Burgess-Peterson Academy. He is a well-rounded student who excels in all subjects.
“I love being at school because I learn a lot and my teacher helps me a lot,” Jacob said.
After Jacob completes his classwork, he usually helps his classmates complete theirs, whether they are close friends or just acquaintances. He says he does this, because all of his classmates are special to him.
Jacob has a natural attraction to science, and he wants to become a scientist when he grows up. And recently, Jacob and a group of his classmates impressed their first-grade teacher when they conducted a science experiment in which they put water in bottles to create a range of pitches. The experiment proved that having less water in a container creates a higher pitch.
When he is away from school, Jacob likes to dance and play catch. But most of all, he likes to play with his twin brother Jabari – the two are inseparable. Since they have almost identical personalities, it’s no wonder they get along so well. Jacob sums up their relationship by simply saying, “He’s my best friend.”
“Jacob Thomas is very articulate, outgoing, and a hard-worker,” said Carolyn Reese, first-grade teacher at Burgess-Peterson Academy. “He has great manners, carries himself like a preacher, and strives to do his very best in everything he does.”
School: Continental Colony Elementary
Fritz Joseph is a Pre-K student at Continental Colony Elementary School of C. H.O.I.C.E. He enjoys listening to music, dancing, reading and exploring on the computer and his teacher’s iPad. Fritz’s favorite subject in school is music because he enjoys playing with the various instruments in class with his friends. He also enjoys learning with his peers and participating in hand-on-activities. Fritz is very active and likes to move around.
“Fritz is a phenomenal student,” says Christopher Strozier, Fritz’s teacher. “He follows directions and lends a hand to his classmates. In class Fritz loves to receive stickers and prizes for a job well done.”
At the beginning of the year Fritz was selected as the Student of the Month for August. Three goals Fritz has mastered this year are identifying his colors, numbers and shapes. He has exceeded in all areas. Fritz’s teacher also describes him as a developing leader. He exemplifies leadership qualities daily by leading the line throughout the building from the classroom to the cafeteria and opening doors for others. He is also a representative on the Student Government Association.
Outside of school Fritz is involved in his church. His ultimate goal in life is to be successful and become a college graduate.
Atlanta Public Schools hopes to cultivate more students like Fritz through its Pre-K programs. APS has 34 school sites, including Continental Colony, with 41 classes that serve more than 850 students in the traditional Pre-K program. In all, APS serves approximately 1,050 early education students, including 3- and 4-year-olds who have special needs and attend an APS Pre-K classroom.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Cleveland Avenue Elementary
Zackariya is an active young-lady-in-training as part of the Just Be Beautiful, Inc. girls mentoring organization under the mentorship of Rita Simmons, who is also her gifted and talent-development teacher. Last school year, she enjoyed the weekly afterschool sessions where girls discussed a variety of topics including etiquette, character, friendship, health, cleanliness and other topics of interest.
“Zackariya is a young lady of great integrity and positive character. She embodies the very essence of great work ethics. Zackariya is self motivated and extremely responsible. She is an excellent representation for Just Be Beautiful, Inc. Girls Mentoring Organization,” Rita Simmons states.
For the past two years, Zackariya has been a student in the Gifted and Talent-Development Program at her school. As part of their economics unit, students in the class created a business. Zackariya created Kara’s Parties during her first year, and Parties 4 U the following year, in partnership with a few classmates for the Student Entrepreneur Business Showcase. Students were required to create their own business cards, logo, motto, decorations, and provide their own products to sell. The event was held in the school gymnasium, and students were invited to attend and purchase products from the budding entrepreneurs.
“I learned how to create a business plan, how to manage a business and student employees, and how to sell products and make a profit,” Zackariya says. She is looking forward to the Gifted and Talent-Development field trip in November to Orlando, Florida, where she will learn about marine biology.
Zackariya enjoys running in her free time, and her favorite subjects are math and reading. She hopes to become a teacher in the future because she enjoys helping her teacher with tasks, such as monitoring the classroom behavior chart. Zackariya’s teacher, Kimberly Lawrence, sums her up in one statement, “She’s like Channel 2 News – ‘dedicated, determined, and dependable.’”
Grade: 6th Grade
School: Inman Middle
Kai is an 11-year-old sixth-grade student at Inman Middle School. His favorite subject is science, and he enjoys all of his other subjects as well. One of his favorite hobbies is reading, and his favorite book series is “The Maze Runner” trilogy.
Sixth-grade English language arts teacher Mary Elizabeth Todd says, “Kai is a hard-working, creative and witty student who gets along well with peers, and is very likable.”
Kai is an athletic student, and plays tennis and soccer with the Inter Atlanta F.C. Blues. “I cannot wait until basketball season starts,” Kai says. He is passionate about music, and plays the trumpet in the Inman sixth- grade band and both school jazz bands.
A frequent traveler, Kai has visited various areas in the U.S. and numerous countries, including India, Japan, Thailand, Europe and South America. He hopes to eventually travel to all seven continents. Although Kai is allergic to dairy and nuts, he likes to cook and learns cooking skills from his mom.
“My favorite foods are pasta, buffalo wings and bacon,” he says.
Kai is a talented, active and creative student who displays great behavior at school, and is a great example to everyone around him.
School: Garden Hills Elementary
Jordan Boswell is new to Garden Hills , but he has already decided that the expansive school media center is one of his favorite places. The large windows and decorative walls inside the media center are alluring and inviting, and make it the perfect get-away for avid readers like Jordan.
The fourth-grader loves settling down with a good book, like his favorite read, “Charlie Bone and the Castle.” In fact, Jordan says he prefers spending his spare time reading more than watching television.
Incidentally, his life is probably just as intriguing as any book on the library shelves. For starters, Jordan, like his mother, was born in Ethiopia, and has dual citizenship. His grandmother – an American – traveled from the U.S. to Ethiopia as part of an expedition, and two generations later, Jordan entered the world. Although he was very young when he left Ethiopia, Jordan still remembers living in the family’s mud house, a standard type of dwelling in the African nation.
Jordan is number eight in a lineup of nine children . He says he is happy he belongs to such a large family, because visiting them allows him to travel all over the country. Of all the places he travels, Jordan likes visiting Chicago and Detroit the most, because he enjoys the snowy winters . In addition to playing in the snow and building snow angels, a trip up north in the winter allows Jordan to do one of his favorite things: join his siblings as they load into a canoe and race down the snow-covered hills.
Robbie Brown, Jordan’s teacher, calls him “an excellent student”; that’s good, because in order to succeed at his career goals, nothing short of excellence will do. Jordan’s grandmother, mother and uncle are physicians, and he wants to follow in their footsteps and become a doctor or brain surgeon when he grows up. Then again, since his father plays professional football, Jordan says a career in the NFL is another appealing possibility.
Brown says Jordan is an “inquirer,” and “he likes to learn new things.” Whether he’s suiting up for surgery, or charging down the gridiron, these traits will certainly serve this impressive student well.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Heritage Academy
Aniceah Leaks is a talented and diligent fifth grade student at Heritage Academy, who has been in the APS Gifted and Talented Program for three years. Her favorite activities are solving math problems, learning new things, and cheerleading at school. When Aniceah grows up, she hopes to become a lawyer, because she is great at reasoning and debating. She is also artistic and likes to dabble in art.
Aniceah describes herself as silly, curious, and active. She looks up to her mom, dad, and other adults in her family because they support her in all that she does. She strives to make a positive impact on the world. If there were one thing she could change, she would have more peace in the world.
Aniceah’s accomplishments are an excellent example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.
Grade: 2nd Grade
School: Toomer Elementary
Imani is an active, hardworking, and intelligent student at Toomer Elementary School. She received a 100 in her science class last year, and excelled in all of her other subjects as well. “I like to listen, and pay attention in class,” Imani says.
Imani believes it is important to be active, and to exercise regularly. She enjoys doing the cartwheel, riding her scooter, and dancing. She signed up for dance class at a PTA meeting, and cannot wait for her first session. “I like to have a lot of energy and don’t want to be lazy,” she says.
Imani hopes to become a singer and pop star when she grows up. She loves singing and dancing and believes this is the perfect career path for her. Imani is also artistic, and appreciates creative art, including paper art and face painting. She values her time with family, and always looks forward to visiting her grandmother in Birmingham.
Imani is an ambitious student who excels in her studies, values her family and friends, and is working toward achieving her dreams.
Grade: 7th Grade
School: Bunche Middle School
Curtis Olawumi, a seventh grader at Bunche Middle School, is an all-star student and talented musician. It is no surprise that what Curtis loves most about school is MUSIC, and the trumpet is his instrument of choice.
Though he enjoys various subjects, his passion and talent for music definitely does not go unnoticed. Curtis was recently selected to participate in Julliard’s summer jazz camp. He was the youngest participant in the summer workshops in Atlanta.
Curtis also has been recognized as a Louis Armstrong jazz award winner. He has attended the GMEA all-state band auditions and the UGA MidFest. UGA MidFest, also known as the The University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival, is a three-day event for middle school band musicians. Students are nominated by their director, and the MidFest staff selects approximately 1000 students from 130 schools to participate based upon their musical achievements and talent.
According to Curtis, his parents motivate him to succeed each and every day. By supporting his talent and encouraging him to do well, Curtis’ parents have definitely helped him reach for the stars.
Curtis is involved in several extracurricular activities including the jazz band, symphonic band, the Atlanta Public Schools all-star band, and football. He is also very involved with his church’s music ministry. When asked about his future aspirations it is no surprise that Curtis is determined to take his musical talent to new heights and become a professional musician.
School: Carter G. Woodson Primary School
“An awesome student.” That’s how Woodson first grade teacher Brenai Dickens refers to her former student, Jarricus Cook. Other teachers use language just as flattering to describe the second-grader.
“Jarricus is an intelligent, polite and respectful young man,” says his kindergarten teacher, Tracie Reid. And he is a “great leader” whose problem solving skills “exceed expectations,” according to his current teacher, Chiara White.
Jarricus has clearly made a big impression on the adults who have worked closely with him in the classroom, and he has also influenced his classmates. He respects everyone – teachers and peers alike. And the same is true when it comes to being helpful; Jarricus is always quick to lend a helping hand to the adults at Woodson, and if senses that a fellow student is having trouble, Jarricus is there to assist.
Qualities like these have turned Jarricus into an excellent role model for his classmates, and when you add trustworthiness and excellent leader to his list of attributes, it’s clear why White selected Jarricus to be a classroom team captain. As a team captain Jarricus must frequently give his team directions. Already, in second grade, he understands that he has to do this gracefully. So Jarricus is respectful and polite – never bossy – when he directs his team members.
Jarricus is also awesome away from school. He has dazzled spectators at his football, baseball and basketball games since he was four-years-old, and he joined the United States Tennis Association when he was six. He was selected to represent Atlanta as an all-star in the 2013 baseball state tournament, and last week he served on the royal court during his football team’s homecoming game.
The national PTA has recognized Jarricus as a budding literary star by awarding him second place in literature in their national Reflections contest.
Despite community changes and district transitioning, Jarricus has performed well in all of his pursuits. His father, who has coached him in all of his extra-curricular endeavors, says out of all of Jarricus’s accomplishments he is most proud of Jarricus’s steady ‘A’ average, which has kept him on the Principal’s List since kindergarten.
The devoted father says, “I am truly proud of Jarricus…throughout all the transitioning, he has truly been a rose that grew from the concrete.”
Continue to grow Jarricus, and keep up the great work!
Grade: 4th Grade
School: Bethune Elementary
Sir Amos is a hardworking fourth grader at Bethune Elementary School. Sir has a distinct passion for science, and he enjoys learning new things each day.
Sir was recently awarded the Citizenship Award at Bethune Elementary. He always exhibits good citizenship skills and serves as a productive and caring student. Sir is currently on the Honor Roll, and he is striving to be on the Principal’s List by the end of the first nine weeks.
Sir says he is motivated to do well in school because his parents encourage him to do his best. Additionally, he enjoys being recognized for high academic achievement and the incentives he receives from doing well in school.
Beyond academics, Sir is also involved in many activities at school including the Eagles Speak Club, Robotics Club, Reading Bowl team, and he plays football at a local recreation center. In his free time Sir enjoys archery, learning about computer science, and making things out of wood.
Even in elementary school, Sir is already planning his collegiate future. He recently went on a college tour in Pennsylvania to visit Valley Forge Military Academy and College. During his tour he learned the daily routines of military life including where the soldiers eat, sleep, and purchase essential items. Sir learned about the differences between military life and civilian life throughout his visit, and he is now considering a future occupation in the U.S. Army.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Finch Elementary
Dayla Webster, a fifth grader at Finch Elementary, is an enthusiastic student with a positive outlook and attitude in the classroom. Dayla is always eager to learn new concepts and ideas, and her creativity exudes through hands-on projects. Additionally, she is very thorough and pays great attention to detail.
Dayla’s teachers describe her as self-motivated and attentive in class, which has helped her achieve her goal of being on the Principal’s Honor Roll throughout her elementary school years.
Dayla’s fifth grade teacher, Ms. Gurley, noticed her exemplary academic performance when she was in the fourth grade.
“I was very impressed with how she handled herself as a young lady and how she performed in the classroom,” Ms. Gurley stated. “Since Dayla entered my classroom, she has done everything I have expected of her and more. She comes to class prepared and ready to learn, and she is very open-minded about exploring new things.”
Dayla’s parents are her greatest motivation, and they continue to emphasize the importance of academic excellence. Dayla is a respectable and dedicated leader who serves as a positive role model and great example of character to her classmates. Dayla’s favorite subjects are math, reading, and language arts, and she aspires to become a doctor or an actress in the future.
School: Whitefoord Elementary
As a kindergartener, Zoe is a star student at Whitefoord Elementary for her impressive reading skills, creativity, leadership, and strong focus in school. Zoe is a talented reader, and already reads on a second grade level. She is comfortable with reading the books out loud, and reads as often as she can. She loves to read about frogs and toads, because they are her “favorite things,” and enjoys making the sounds they make. “I like when they ribbit, and I learned that they make a lot of noise, and they teach me how to be a good friend,” Zoe says.
Zoe’s other talent is creating writing. She writes stories about herself in different situations with her vivid imagination. “Once I wrote a story where I was a worker at Macy’s and Dollar General,” Zoe says.
Zoe displays leadership at her school, by helping other students around her and always finishes her schoolwork on time. She hopes to become a doctor when she grows up like her mother.
“She’s one of my eager readers, and reads many books about frogs and toads,” says Mileeka Frank, Media Specialist at Whitefoord. “She is also loves Dr.Seuss books, and is an all-around great leader in school, even as a kindergartener.”
School: Coretta Scott King (High School)
When she was eight, her biggest challenge was remembering not to yell-out in class. At 12, she was challenged with being a responsible dog owner. And today, at 16, Vashti Byrd finds herself facing what she calls her biggest challenge yet – surviving her first year enrolled in all Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The CSK junior realizes that things have definitely changed since third grade.
“I was goofy when I was younger,” says Vashti, laughing at the memory of her childhood antics. “I was so silly – I was always laughing – even when there was absolutely nothing to laugh at!”
Vashti began shedding some of that silliness as the years passed, but the teenager believes her true evolution began when she entered 10th grade. As proof of this, she points to her work in JROTC, an organization she joined in ninth grade.
“I’ve wanted to be in JROTC since eighth grade. At first it was all about wearing the uniform,” says Vashti, “But in 10th grade I worked hard and got a lot more responsibility; then it was about the leadership, the service and citizenship.”
Vashti’s academic performance also changed. She went from finishing her ninth-grade year in the top 10 percent of her class to finishing 10th grade as one of the top 10 students in her class.
The ‘CSK experience’ keeps Vashti busy throughout the year. She believes this one-of-a-kind high school experience has transformed her into a focused, high-achieving student while giving her plenty of opportunities to have fun.
The varsity cheerleader is a member of the Beta Club, the CSK basketball team and softball team, and an athletic trainer – a job that requires her to patch up injured CSK and B.E.S.T. Academy athletes during football, basketball and soccer games.
When she explains her impressive 30-year-life plan, Vashti details how she will combine the two things she loves most — healing the human body, and participating in JROTC— to pursue a career as a military doctor.
Vashti’s biotech teacher, Nicole Chapman calls Vashti a leader who exemplifies the skills and abilities of a dedicated and determined young lady. Chapman adds, “Vashti is definitely creating a legacy for herself.”
Grade: 8th Grade
School: Crawford W. Long Middle
Terrisianna Taylor and Terrianna Taylor are twins who have a variety of interests, but are both very ambitious with their education and careers. They have a younger brother who they love very dearly, and enjoy attending school at Crawford Long Middle School.
Terrisianna is a caring, silly, and intelligent student who is in the gifted program. Her short-term goal is to pass the 8th grade and achieve high CRCT scores, and her long-term goal is to attend a great college and become a successful journalist or veterinarian. Terrisianna loves to write stories, has a strong passion for animals, and is very motivated in her schoolwork.
“I want my goals and future aspiration to come true, so I’m going to make it happen by working hard and doing well in school,” she says.
With her ambition and confidence, she is looking forward to a bright and successful future ahead.
Terrianna is a playful, active, and determined student. She loves to draw different characters, and read books about romance and mysteries. Her favorite subject is social studies, as she is really interested in the world. School is one of her top priorities and she takes it very seriously.
“School is where I really feel comfortable at doing my best,” Terrianna says.
She exceeded in every section of the CRCT last year, and is planning to do the same this year. Terrianna is a cheerleader, a Tigerette, and a member of the dance team at school. Her future aspirations are to become a successful in life and have a job that she is passionate about.
Grade: 4th Grade
School: Hope-Hill Elementary
Alexandra is an intelligent, well-behaved, and talented student at Hope-Hill Elementary School. She excels in reading, and receives A’s on all of her reading tests. “It’s important to read because it helps you increase for vocabulary,” she says. Reading also expanded her spelling skills, as she participated in last year’s spelling bee and placed runner up! “I liked the spelling bee and can spell more than fifty words,” Alexandra says. “Reading helps with spelling because if you can’t spell a word, you can’t read it.”
Alexandra’s favorite subject is math, and especially enjoys solving multiplication problems. She is very active and enjoys playing basketball and riding her skateboard. Alexandra hopes to become a veterinarian when she grows up because of her love for animals and is looking forward to working with them everyday.
According to her teacher Michelle McDaniel, Alexandra is truly a young lady with intrinsic motivation, and maximizing every educational experience is her priority.
Name: Kyah Dumas
Grade: 9th Grade
School: Therrell High School- STEMS
When you hear about Kyah Dumas the words “scholar, student, and athlete” come to mind. Kyah Dumas, a freshman at Therrell High School-STEMS, is a force on and off of the field. When she isn’t exhibiting her athletic ability on the mound, she works hard to excel in academics.
Scholarship and sports are two things Kyah does not take lightly. She is determined to give her all in both areas.
Kyah has been playing softball since the age of seven. She is destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps as her mom was once a star player on Therrell’s softball team as well.
Kyah is also a star on her travel softball team, the Milford Legend. She and her Milford Legend teammates have participated in the world series for the past two years. But, her triumphs don’t stop there. On September 24th Kyah helped lead the Therrell softball team to victory as the number one seed in the region. Over the next few weeks her team will begin preparing for the playoffs.
Kyah was recently featured in the Neighbor Newspapers as the Female Athlete of the Week. Congratulations, Kyah, on your wonderful achievements!
Excerpt from the Neighbor Newspapers:
Kyah Dumas’ transition on the softball field from Bunche Middle School to Therrell High has been seamless.
In her first seven appearances on the mound this season, Dumas is 4-1 with 42 strikeouts.
“She definitely has had an impact on the mound,” Therrell assistant coach Paul Perriman said. “She is doing what I would expect a senior to do. She has taken a leadership role and that is a good direction to be headed in.”
“I love pitching,” said Dumas, who throws an effective change-up.
Perriman also noted that Dumas’ success on the mound is due to her chemistry with junior catcher Courtney Hayes.
“Kyah and Courtney work it out when to throw inside or outside,” Perriman said. “When to throw the fastball or the change-up.”
Currently, the Lady Panthers are 7-5-2 overall and 3-0-1 in sub-region 6B-AAAA, which was something Dumas was hoping for coming into her freshman season.
“I wanted to lead my team to a lot of wins because I don’t like to lose,” she said.
At Bunche, Dumas helped the Lady Chargers win back-to-back championships. According to the Atlanta Public Schools website, Dumas was also named 2012 Softball Player of the Year.
“I think if we limit our mistakes, focus and don’t get down if we lose, we will okay the rest of the way,” Dumas said.
-Article featured in Neighbor Newspapers
Grade: 3rd Grade
School: F.L. Stanton Elementary School
Even standing on his toes, third-grader Quantrell Calip falls shy of four-feet-tall. But, as the saying goes, big things come in small packages, and Quantrell never fails to make a huge impression on everyone he meets.
His teacher, Alayna Smith, grins when she attempts to describe Quantrell, and eventually says, “You just have to meet him; once you meet him you’ll see what makes him special.”
In addition to being extremely studious, hardworking and well mannered, Quantrell – an A/B student – has a strong vocabulary, limitless imagination, and a remarkable talent for oral expression. His curiosity and habit of speaking non-stop — almost forgetting to take a breath at times– reveal his excitement for learning, school and just being a kid.
“He’s like a little man trapped in a little boy’s body,” says Smith. “He has such a big personality.” Something Smith believes Quantrell inherited from his grandfather, who recently captivated Stanton students on Grandparents’ Day by reciting an animated and entertaining poem.
“I play games like ‘Army’ with my grandpa, too,” says Quantrell. “He was in the army, so he usually wins. But, he isn’t as fast as me, so that gives me an advantage –plus, he doesn’t choose good hiding places, so I win sometimes.
“My grandpa told me a few stories about the army and he said it was hard. But l want to be in the army when I grow up, so I can save the lives of others. I also want to fly jets, or maybe drive tanks, or maybe both.”
Or, he might become a racecar driver, since he likes playing with Hotwheels, and he says drivers make a lot of money. Then again, he could become an engineer, who “designs and builds things at construction sites” since he loves designing and building robots and tall buildings with Legos.
Quantrell’s favorite subject is math, and learning tools like base-10 blocks make learning math fun. And he enjoys American history, too.
“This year, we learned about the war, the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and how he raced through town on a horse in the middle of the night warning everyone. It was a very exciting time,” says the third-grader.
Quantrell recently played Arrow in the classroom play, “The Strongest One.” His class also attended an acting workshop taught by actors from the Atlanta Shakespeare Company.
With his gift of gab, creative mind, math skills and love for building and problem solving, Quantrell Calip is a rising star, and when it comes to his future, the sky is the limit.
School: Carver High School- Health Sciences & Research
Grade: 12th Grade
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
Edward Curney III, a 12th grader at Carver High School- Health Sciences & Research, tries to live by this quote each and every day.
“Since birth my parents have raised me to soar like an eagle and to be distinct,” Edward explained.
And Edward is certainly flying high.
Edward is a dedicated and ambitious scholar athlete with a current GPA of 3.7. He is also ranked in the top 10 percent of his class. In addition to scoring big in the classroom, Edward is also a phenomenal athlete. He is currently ranked as the 4th Best Inside Linebacker in the state of Georgia.
Several colleges are working to recruit Edward for his athletic ability and excellence in education, including Georgia State, Marshall, Appalachian State, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Virginia Tech and Yale.
Edward says is most excited about his offer from Yale.
“I want to major in business finance and own my own private institution one day,” Edward said. “I am looking forward to stepping out on faith and tackling the world on my own.”
Edward is determined to be successful and achieve his goals in life, and according to him, only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatness. Edward says that he has the made the choice to not be afraid to try unrealistic things, but instead, he will step out on faith, trust in God and persevere.
School: Kennedy Middle School
Grade: 8th Grade
Antionette Shannon is definitely a shining star at Kennedy Middle School. Her favorite subject has always been math, as she has always exceled in the subject.
Antionette works hard in the classroom, and she is determined to make her teachers and family proud. She attributes her success to the love and support of her family.
“Despite what I’ve lacked in life, I can replace that lack with love and support,” she said.
Antionette says that she doesn’t measure her success in material things, but instead, she values her education and focuses a lot of her time on studying and learning.
Antionette is an active participant of the Raising Expectations program, an after school activity at Kennedy Middle School. Since joining the program she has been afforded additional academic support to help meet her academic goals for the school year. Antionette has been recognized as an honor roll student, serves as the treasurer for the SGA club, and she was on the Principal’s List for the 2012-13 school year.
Antionette plans to attend Washington High School next year and participate in the Early College program. She lives by the Kennedy Theme for this school year, “staying the course, digging deeper, and reaching higher.”
Grade: 8th Grade
School: King Middle School
Marquis was selected as one of 25 student leaders from King Middle to participate in The Academy with DJ Drama, Don Cannon, DJ Sense, and DJ Era. The guests shared encouraging messages to the students, and awarded each student with a certificate for their leadership. “They shared different obstacles that they went through in order to succeed, and how education helped them get to where they are now,” Marquis says.
Marquis exemplifies great behavior, strong leadership, and makes good choices. He is an honor student, and his best subjects are language arts, math, and social studies. Marquis does the right thing even when no one is looking. He enjoys helping others, by encouraging them when they are feeling down, or helping them with their schoolwork. “I like to help other people, and to see them do well in school,” he says.
Marquis is also active in after school program, football, basketball, and swimming. He enjoys outdoor adventures in the woods, especially camping. His goal is to become an athlete and a motivational speaker in the future, and hopes to continue doing what he loves and serving others.
School: Scott Elementary School
Mention the name Ashley Naji to any staff member at Scott Elementary, and your words will be met with enthusiasm. When asked to describe the fourth-grader, Laura Woods, the school’s media specialist, instantly rattled off a long list of accolades without pausing.
Woods calls Ashley a “go to” person who is always ready for any task; as proof of this, Woods cites the time Ashley was asked to deliver the school’s morning announcements.
“She didn’t hesitate when we approached her, she jumped right in,” recalls Woods. “In fact, she even recruited other students to read the announcements for future broadcasts.”
Ashley is also a “go to” person when it comes to completing tasks away from school. Her grandmother owns a parking lot near Turner Field, and calls on Ashley to sell cold beverages to thirsty patrons headed to and from Braves games. Ashley admits that even though she enjoys doing her part to support the family business, there are times when she would rather be doing something else — especially when the games finish late.
“Sometimes they go all the way to the 16th inning, and 16 innings is a long time!” she says emphatically.
But even when the games end late, the Challenge student hangs in there, and keeps a positive spirit. “Besides,” she says, “You can make some real good money too.”
Ashley’s positive, can-do spirit is one reason she performs well in school. At the end-of-year awards ceremony last year, Ashley won awards in math, reading, science, social science and perfect attendance.
She says achieving perfect attendance was not hard, because she enjoys school so much.
“Well, I don’t like waking up to go to school, but once I’m there, I love it, because there is so much to do.
She loves math — especially multiplication – even when she comes across problems she doesn’t understand, like multiplying two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers. She says it was hard, but she kept studying and practicing until she got it – she never gave up.
Ashley also enjoys reading, so she visits the public library regularly. She recently finished reading “BFG: The Big Friendly Giant,” a book she now calls one of her favorites.
“I love it, because the author is so creative,” says Ashley. “He makes up silly words like, ‘scrumpdillyumptious’ and ‘snozzcumber.’
Ashley also participates in the school orchestra and P.O.W.E.R., Scott’s performing arts club.
Grade: 12th Grade
School: Carver Early College
Jessica believes that Carver Early College was the right high school destination for her. It has stimulated Jessica’s natural interest in science to the point that she wants to major in Chemistry in college. She likes Carver Early College because the school is small and the teachers make it their mission to get to know the students. She appreciates the fact that most of her foundational courses were taken in the first two years of high school, so she could begin taking college classes her junior year.
Jessica’s high school experience has been enriched by her extracurricular activities. She was a member of the JROTC, where she gained valuable leadership skills and achieved the rank of captain. Because of her maturity and patience, she is being recruited to train incoming freshmen. JROTC also afforded her the opportunity to work with the Special Olympics by helping students to navigate the physical events.
Jessica is also a senior mentor and has two underclassmen “under her wings”. Her primary advice to them is not to play around when it comes to their classes and grades. Her cognizance of the importance of academics in high school has landed her a nomination for the Posse Scholarship.
Jessica found the “love of her life” at age nine. Dancing is a part of everything that she does, and she says that life without dancing would be tortuous. She is currently a member of three dance companies. She dances, teaches, and assists with classes at Norma’s Academy, she is a member of the Carver School of the Arts dance ensemble, and is a member of the Warehouse Dance Company. Her membership in the Warehouse Dance Company enables her to visit various venues and offer free classes to girls ages 12 – 18, demonstrating how dance can be a creative form of exercise that promotes physical fitness.
Jessica’s dream goal would be to double major in Dance and Chemistry. These aspirations have Jessica’s sights set on attending Fordham University or the University of California at Berkeley. When she graduates from college, she would like to dance professionally as well as work in a lab as a researcher. These two careers goals will keep her “dancing with the stars.”
- written by Linda Green, Media Specialist at Carver Early College
Grade: 12th Grade
School: Therrell High School- School of Law, Government & Public Policy
Isabella Minter is a bright and ambitious senior at D.M. Therrell High School- School of Law, Government & Public Policy. Isabella Minter is certainly taking advantage of scholarship opportunities and opportunities to shine outside of the classroom as she prepares to head to college next year.
This summer, Isabella competed in the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition sponsored by MetLife, in conjunction with the National Bar Association (NBA). The national advocacy competition, which is held annually by the National Bar Association, offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to win college scholarships by demonstrating their advocacy skills through writing essays and giving oral presentations. The competition is divided into three rounds consisting of local, regional and national rounds.
This year’s competition topic was “If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive ,would he advocate to repeal the Florida Stand Your Ground Law and other similar laws?” The Gate City Bar Association hosted the local round of the essay competition for Atlanta area high school students. Student essays were judged based on quality, content, persuasiveness, style, organization and creativity.
Isabella Minter was recognized as the Gate City Bar Association’s local competition winner, allowing her to move on to compete in the regional level of the competition. In June, Isabella placed 1st in Region XI’s MLK Competition (Alabama, Florida, Georgia) winning $1000 in scholarship money and a trip to Miami, Florida, to compete in the National Competition.
Finally, on July 31, 2013, Isabella competed in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy National Competition in Miami, Florida. She placed 3rd in the nation and was awarded a total of $3,000 in scholarships.
Congratulations to Isabella on her recent accomplishments!
Grade: 10th Grade
School: Grady High School
Justin was one of 15 students from the United States selected to participate in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ocean for Life Program this past summer in Santa Barbara, California. Ocean for Life is an educational marine science field study program that enhances cultural understanding among high school students through ocean science. To enter this program, Justin had to submit several essays, teacher recommendations, and show his involvement in the community.
“I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in marine biology, and I thought this program would be fun and help me know which direction I wanted to go,” Justin says. He says that this trip was an eye-opening experience for him. A marine biologist shared a presentation from his trip to a Hawaiian island where he found a dead bird that had trash inside its body.
“It hit me pretty hard,” Justin says. “I didn’t realize how bad it was until he showed this powerpoint presentation.”
One of Justin’s projects was to create a video with his group that depicted the theme of “Sense of Place,” and he fully enjoyed capturing footage throughout this trip. Click here to watch the video.
One of the highlights for Justin was meeting other students from around the world. Students from 7 other countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and more, participated in this program.
“I got to connect with them and see how they lived their daily lives, and how their culture is different,” he says.
Justin is an honors student at Grady and pursues his conservation interests as the President of the Earth Club. He is also an active athlete as a member of Grady’s swim team, DeKalb Aquatics swim team, and APS water polo team. In his free time, Justin also volunteers at the Atlanta Zoo, where he educates the public about animal conservation and provides information about zoo animals.
“I love to gather facts, answer questions, and educate the guests of what is happening,” Justin says. “It’s fun to make people aware and teach what I love.”
School: Harper-Archer Middle School
De’lante Jordan is proof that you don’t have to be like everyone else to garner respect from your classmates, or to become a leader among your peers. In fact, one could argue that doing things differently from the middle school status quo, is exactly what makes him stand out as someone special.
“Everyone knows and respects De’lante,” says his former math teacher and current Harper-Archer Athletic Director Alana Allen. “De’lante is an outstanding student. He made straight A’s in my class last year, and he continues to excel this year.”
Allen adds that De’lante always has his work, asks questions when he does not understand and always stays on task. What’s more, De’lante has managed to avoid giving in to the temptation of misbehaving and being disrespectful in order to appear ‘cool.’
As wide receiver for the school’s 4-0football team and first baseman for the school’s baseball team, De’lante says when he’s not at school he stays busy by working out or practicing in order to hone his skills. He also finds time to read to stay mentally active.
“I don’t like just sitting around,” he says. “I might watch t.v. or play games for a little while, but then I have to find something else to do to stay busy.”
“Not only is he an all-around great student, he is just a total gentleman in every way,” says Allen, and she credits all of this to the strong male influence in his life.
According to Allen, De’lante’s father is very active in every aspect of De’lante’s life. He is active in the school PTA, attends all of Delante’s games, and he has done an excellent job teaching him how to behave and build character.
Even though De’lante plays by the rules – out of habit more than necessity – his peers do not hassle him about it, they respect him even more.
During his first year at Harper-Archer, the students elected De’lante – only a seventh-grader at the time — vice-president of the student body, a position normally held by eighth graders.
And De’lante has noticed that his teammates seem to regard his opinions and advice on the football field with a lot more reverence this year; a true sign that he is coming into his own as a leader.
He also served as a fitness center representative during the recent ribbon cutting event for the school’s $100,000 fitness center, made possible by the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Councils Grant.
De’lante would like to attend the University of Alabama for college, and plans to pursue a career as a sports entrepreneur if he does not play professional athlete.
Grade: 8th Grade
School: Coan Middle School
Richard stands out as one of Coan Middle’s top students with his academic achievements, leadership, and excellent behavior. Last spring, he made a perfect score on the science section of the CRCT, and scored high in the other sections as well. He also made the Principal’s list four years in a row, and is looking forward to maintaining his academic achievement. His best skills include reading and memorizing lesson materials, and he especially enjoys learning hands on during science class.
Last year, Richard served as the SGA Vice President, and is looking for more opportunities to be involved with the school this year. He is a great role model for his peers, with his motivation and leadership capabilities.
Richard’s favorite subjects are math and science, and he hopes to become a mechanical engineer in the future. He loves to invent and build things, and plans to major in engineering in college. “I have to work hard and study hard in order to become a mechanical engineer,” Richard says.
Since kindergarten, Richard has been learning Spanish and is semi-fluent. He is able to speak Spanish comfortably to his friends, teacher, and grandmother. Richard has enjoyed learning a second language, and hopes to improve his proficiency.
Grade: 11th Grade
School: Mays High School
Makeda Phillips, an 11th grader at Benjamin E. Mays High School, had a fun-filled and impactful summer comprised of amazing field trips and memorable experiences.
Makeda was one of eight students chosen to serve as a student publisher for the Wren’s Nest.
By preserving the legacy of the famous author, Joel Chandler Harris, and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing, the Wren’s Nest serves as an educational resource for the community, the greater Atlanta area and visitors from around the globe.
During the summer, Makeda and her fellow student publishers worked tirelessly to create and publish a student literary journal. The students navigated the process from start to finish—including selecting the student work they would feature in the book and working with printers to obtain numerous copies of the finished product.
Additionally, one of Makeda’s poems was featured in the publication.
“This summer program taught me the importance of hard work and just how much effort it takes to publish a book,” Makeda explained. “It took a lot of time, organization and teamwork. It taught me about various perspectives of the journalism and publishing industries.”
During Labor Day weekend, the student publishers presented their literary journal, Smoke Signals, the seventh annual literary journal produced entirely by Atlanta-area high school students participating in the Wren’s Nest summer publishing program.
In addition to publishing her work, the program also afforded Makeda the opportunity to visit sites throughout Atlanta including the Creating Loafing offices, CNN Studios, and Turner Broadcasting.
Makeda aspires to continue crafting her writing skills. She is interested in a myriad of subjects, including science and film. She plans to choose a major that encompasses her passions upon graduating from Mays High School.
Makeda also produced a documentary about her summer experience. Watch the video below.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Thomasville Heights Elementary School
Thomasville Heights 5th grade student, Kenyatta Lakes, is a young man full of smiles and ambition.
Currently in his last year of elementary school, he realizes that responsibility grows with age.
Although Kenyatta is proud of his foundation, he inspires to improve his community through leadership and tenacity. Even at his young age, Kenyatta has already shown signs of true humanitarianism through his annual tradition of donating his hair to cancer patients.
Yes, this elementary student grows his hair every year just to donate it. He is known throughout the school for his long and beautiful head of hair, although he prefers it short.
“It feels good when all of my hair is cut and I like it, but there are people in this world who need my hair so I will continue to grow it for them,” explains Kenyatta. “It feels good to help someone and put a smile on their face.”
Kenyatta’s new 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Turner, saw something special in him from the start.
“Kenyatta is a high -spirited, energized, intelligent young man who brings a wealth of knowledge to school each day,” she explained. “His knowledge is illustrated by his engaging conversations about life, keen abilities in math, and strong leadership. As a teacher, it is my pleasure and honor to be a part of Kenyatta’s life,” said Mrs. Turner with a big smile.
Kenyatta believes that getting an education and being a good person is the key to being successful and happy in life.
He hopes to motivate and encourage more students to become responsible and help others. If he continues to lead by example there is no doubt that others will follow in his footsteps.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Usher-Collier Heights Elementary School
Liberty Jones is a teacher’s dream student. The boldly unique fifth-grader is sharp as a tack, determined and reliable, and disciplined beyond her years. And for Liberty, self-discipline entails much more than classroom behavior; discipline is a way of life that keeps her focused, pushes her along when she gets stuck, motivates her to do what she says she will do, and ultimately leads her to success.
“I like the discipline and order at this school,” she says. She adds that she wants to attend military school when she leaves Usher-Collier Heights.
Before enrolling at Usher-Collier as a fourth-grader, Liberty attended a charter school, and prior to that she attended a private school. But according to her, Usher-Collier is “the best school I’ve ever been in.”
“My other schools didn’t have the discipline like they have here,” says Liberty. “These teachers make sure everyone follows directions, and they know how to make school fun.”
As an example, the Challenge student points to her favorite class, math.
She says, “ The teacher makes learning things like using parenthesis and exponents challenging and fun; I always want to solve more problems, and I always study — I never give up. And if the teacher says jump, I don’t complain, I just ask how high?”
Her math teacher, Dorris Howard, has recognized Liberty’s enthusiasm for learning, and describes her as a hard working, determined and caring problem solver who enjoys helping her classmates and teachers.
“Liberty is extremely disciplined,” says Howard. “When she puts her mind to something, she gets it done.”
Since arriving at Usher-Collier, Liberty has “put her mind” to playing basketball and football, cheerleading, and dancing after school.
She also has a big heart for service. Liberty travels regularly to cities around the U.S. with church members and her family to help the homeless and the less fortunate.
As far as her future is concerned, Liberty says several careers come to mind, and professional football player is at the top of the list. If that doesn’t pan out, she says she will join the Navy, become a “professional math teacher,” or dance professionally.
Usher-Collier Heights Principal Gregory Parks says, “Liberty is truly a great student leader and advocate for Usher Collier Elementary School. She has garnered the respect of her teachers and classmates. Also, she has a tremendous work ethic and persistence to achieve short and long term goals.”
Grade: 7th Grade
School: Sylvan Hills Middle School
Devontae Carter is our Spotlight Student from Sylvan Hills Middle School. Devontae is a 7th grade student returning for his second year as a Golden Bear. His team of teachers from last year and this year strongly recommended that we recognize him due to his outstanding citizenship and academic achievement. Devontae was selected early on as a Student of the Month at Sylvan last year as his teachers quickly recognized his admirable character. Devontae is always willing to help others, even serving as a peer tutor where he was able to assist his classmates in academics as needed. He earned the title “King of Social Studies” in the 6th grade last year due to his consistently high scores on exams. Devontae is a natural leader.
At Sylvan, all students are expected to be Sylvan Ready everyday. This means that they are respectful, punctual, prepared, presentable, and engaged. Devontae meets this expectation without reminder on a daily basis. He is very respectful and well-mannered and is a high achiever in all content areas. Devontae was a member of the Sylvan Hills baseball team last year and is part of the football team this year as well. All in all, Devontae is a model citizen and student and we at Sylvan Hills are proud to have him as a Golden Bear.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: M. Agnes Jones Elementary
Joelesha Nyzia Upshaw is the middle child in a family of three female siblings. She is currently in the fifth grade at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School where she has been a student since Kindergarten.
Joelesha is an excellent all-around student. She is an amazing writer and her stories are engaging and creative. She is also a member of the safety patrol and a talented dancer. She has served as a member of the M. Agnes Jones dance team since third grade.
Joelesha is extremely bright and exceeded in all categories for the 2012-2013 school year administration of the Georgia CRCT. Additionally, Joelesha has recently been accepted into the Gifted and Talented Education Program.
She spent the summer traveling, flying from Atlanta to California and then driving back via the infamous Route 66. From there she traveled north. In all, her travels covered 28 states. During her travels, she visited several historic landmarks including: the Grand Canyon, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Twin Towers Memorial, and the Empire State Building. More than anything, she enjoyed seeing the Statue of Liberty.
“Oh she is so beautiful,” Joelesha exclaimed.
Joelesha took hundreds of photos with her digital camera. She aspires to become a travel and fashion photographer. What a great start to her career!
Grade: 2nd Grade
School: D.H. Stanton Elementary
Markia is a spirited second grade student at D.H. Stanton Elementary School. School administrators identify her as a star student, as she faithfully wears her school uniform and is a great role model for her peers. “I like to wear the uniform, and be a good example,” Markia says. She is a hard worker and often supports her teacher in class, and receives rewards and treats for good behavior.
Her favorite subject is math, because she loves to subtract and add. She especially enjoys PE where she can exercise and run with her classmates. Markia considers D.H. Stanton to be a great school; she loves the teachers, class activities, and especially the computers.
“Markia is blossoming into a great student and a future leader,” says Lorrae Walker, 2nd grade teacher. “She embodies the 7 habits of highly effective kids, by leading by example and ensuring that others are doing the right things.”
Grade: 6th Grade
School: Sutton Middle School
As a sixth-grader new to a middle school that houses almost 1,500 students, Jaron Sheffield says he really likes his new school; he says he is confident and has not experienced any trouble transitioning. However, Jaron admits that there are some things he misses about his former school, E. Rivers Elementary.
“It was nice going to the same school with my younger brothers, and seeing them everyday, ” says Jaron. ”And I really miss my teachers — they were nice to me, and they made school a lot of fun.”
In fact, at Rivers, many teachers regarded Jaron as “exceptional.” His fifth-grade art teacher, Philip Alexander-Cox describes Jaron as “an exceptional and talented artist, and a young man of exceptional character as well.”
These traits ultimately led Jaron to enter the “Dream @ 50 Art Contest,” a national contest for students that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream Speech.
“The speech was about how one day the world would be a better place, because everyone would respect each other, and and judge people by what’s on the inside, instead of what’s on the outside; and in the end, everyone would get along,” states Jaron. ”I drew a picture based on the peace I thought Martin Luther King imagined, the people that came before him that made it possible — like Abraham Lincoln — and the people that came after him — like President Obama — who show how his dream came true.”
Jaron’s talent, vision and character resulted in him winning Honorable Mention for his art in the Atlanta, metro-wide Dream @50 art contest, and it was even featured at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
“Jaron is a true gentleman,” says Rivers fifth-grade teacher Lindsay Treharne. He is a kind and warm-hearted student who is always willing to help his fellow classmates. Dr. King would be quite proud that a student of Jaron’s character was honored on the 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Deerwood Academy
Ashley Dungey is currently a 5th grader in Dr. Huff’s class at Deerwood Academy. In addition to being a star student, Ashley enjoys drawing, writing, reading, and learning about new and innovative technology. But, what truly sets Ashley apart is her desire to give to others. She has a true understanding of the meaning of giving, and she would prefer to give back to her community at an age when most would rather spend time playing with friends or watching cartoons on television.
“What I love to do best is to give,” she explains. “When I have clothes or shoes that are too small for me, my dad will take me to the gas station, and I will donate my items to Goodwill.”
Putting a smile on someone’s face motivates Ashley to excel in her community service efforts. Every weekend you can find her lending her time and assistance at the neighborhood soup kitchen. But, the giving doesn’t stop there. Ashley is also aware of the damage we can do to the environment if we don’t keep our neighborhoods clean and free of waste. As a result, Ashley has become very interested in recycling. She has even been tagged the “recycling guru” at Deerwood Academy.
“One thing I really love to do is recycle,” she said. “I have been recycling for the past three years.”
Ashley continues to encourage her family, friends, and community to follow her lead to preserve the environment and unselfishly give back to others.
Grade: 9th Grade
School: Carver Early College
Family tradition brought freshman Alvan Price to Carver High School. His familial line of Carver graduates includes his father, sister and brother. Alvan’s sister encouraged him to attend Carver Early College because of his intelligence and the academic rigor of Carver Early College. Alvan says that the school offers “opportunity, opportunity, and opportunity”.
He has taken advantage of some of these opportunities in his freshman year by placing on the Dean’s List, becoming Mr. Freshman, becoming Vice-President of the Freshman Class and Vice-President of the SGA. He is also a football player and a member of Esquires-an organization devoted to building character in young men. Alvan’s sights are set on becoming a neurologist and he plans to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Once he’s a doctor, he wants to open a medical plaza which would be a “one- stop- shop” for all types of medical specialties.
Next year, everyone at Carver Early College is expected to play at least one sport. As a leader on the campus, Alvin would like to build momentum by offering study halls for all athletes. He also thinks that a creative way to use the first ten minutes of advisement is for everyone to work on some phase of their homework. Alvan is an innovator who, with his perseverance, will succeed and light the path for many to follow in his footsteps or walk along beside him.
written by Linda J. Green, Media Specialist at Carver Early College
School: Crim Open Campus
Impressive and optimistic are two words to describe Elijah Hodges. He is the salutatorian of the class of 2013 at Crim Open Campus, and is proud to graduate with top honor after facing many challenges. Elijah was able to overcome recent incidents that occurred with a positive attitude. Within one week in November 2012, he was involved in an accident, left out of his home, lived in a shelter, and moved in with his older sister. Although he could not control his situation, he managed to stay strong, land a job, and maintain his grades at school. Elijah will be attending Anthem College next year and plans to study biology and history.
Elijah is the salutatorian of his class, and he worked tirelessly to reach this position. He ranked 34 in his class in Memphis, and moved to Atlanta Public Schools in 2010. Although he found the instruction to be more rigorous at APS, he was not only able to catch up but excelled among the students. Elijah was privileged to participate in a recent Student Leadership meeting with Superintendent Davis. He was the only representative from Crim, and had a great experience asking questions and contributing to the discussions. “I gave input on how APS students feel about different topics, and felt that Mr. Davis really cares about the students and the schools,” Elijah says.
Elijah believes it is very important to network and form strong relationships with people. He met his godfather who owns businesses at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, and landed a job at Popeyes. He believes that building connections with people brought him to where he is today. “I made $70 of tip in 2 days,” says Elijah. “People skills are a necessity that everyone needs, because it is a way to success.”
Elijah loves to skateboard as a hobby. He has been skateboarding for 6 years, and has been serious about the sport for 2 years. He always enjoys being adventurous and exploring his surroundings. History is one of his favorite subjects, because he finds it entertaining and it comes naturally to him. He has also gained the respect from staff and students at his school. “Elijah is a hard worker, very conscientious, and never has a bad attitude,” says Teena Cash Hargrove, Media Specialist and Communications Ambassador. “You can ask anyone at school, and they will agree.”
When asked to share his motto in life, Elijah says, “I mean what I say, and say what I mean. I like to get things done, don’t take no for an answer, and never doubt myself.”
School: Sarah Smith (Primary Campus)
According to the official IB website, “The International Baccalaureate (IB) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
This may seem difficult for most seven-year-olds to understand, but there is a special second-grader at Sarah Smith Elementary, an IB school, who epitomizes what the IB is all about.
Katie Jarrell is eager to share everything she knows with anyone who asks. She articulates her thoughts with the skill of someone twice her age; no short, vague mumbling or awkward second-grade rambling for her. When answering a question, Katie uses complete sentences and she always provides thought-provoking explanations to back-up her responses. And her enthusiasm for learning is infectious; anyone listening as Katie describes an idea or tells a story suddenly becomes eager to learn more. She’s that good.
For instance, last week while shooting an episode of the APS Comcast channel 22 program Perspectives, Katie unwittingly demonstrated her IB magic. The show featured Smith students engaged in hands-on study about Australia as part of the school’s annual International Traveler’s (IT) Week celebration.
Katie poured out her knowledge about Australia for the show’s viewers, covering everything Aussie, from aborigines and art, to crocodiles and kangaroos. And as Katie talked about marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, she skillfully worked in a message about pollution and personal responsibility — and she did it all without a script!
“People have been putting garbage in the water,” she said. “So when you’re outside you always need to pick up your trash, because you never know how all of this trash could just go in the water… we always want to make sure we’re picking up things — even if it isn’t ours — and we’re helping the earth and Mother Nature.”
She’s responsible too. Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age two, Katie checks her blood sugar, gives herself insulin, changes her pump sites, and is learning to count carbs and make informed decisions about what she eats. As a gymnast, Katie realizes that eating right gives her the strength she needs to do the flips she loves.
And as an ambassador for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, Katie talks to newly diagnosed children to inspire them and give them the confidence they need.
This summer Katie will speak to business leaders to create more awareness for Type 1 diabetes.
Her teacher, Mr. Kraus, says, “Katie is a responsible, independent, caring and enthusiastic student. She is a leader in class through the words she chooses to use and the actions she chooses to take.”
IB learners strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. Without question, Katie Jarrell embodies it all.