Student Spotlight of the Week
School: Benteen Elementary
Arturo is a gifted student from Benteen who is selected as a candidate for the Ben Carson Scholarship. The recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship that will be awarded upon high school graduation. The essay that Arturo submitted for the scholarship told a story of the adventures that he and his friends would face while exploring in the woods. Arturo’s teacher had selected several students to apply for the scholarship and he was the only student to be nominated from Benteen. “I was very happy when I found out because my older sister won a lot of scholarships, and I really want to be like her,” Arturo says. “I worked really hard on the essay and want to work harder to get more scholarships in the future.”
Arturo says he is very excited about middle school, but is also worried because he is expecting a lot more homework. His favorite subject is math, and his goal is to become an architecture when he grows up. He enjoys building robots and cars with K’nex, which is a building construction set for younger ages. Arturo is a driven and skilled student who strives towards his goals and stays focused on the successful road ahead of him.
School: Finch Elementary
Devean is a fifth-grade student who enjoys singing, skateboarding, and playing chess. He says singing allows him to express how he feels, playing chess helps him to learn strategy and planning his next moves while skateboarding is challenging and meets his love of learning new tricks. He also loves animals, as “all animals are interesting” to him. Moreover, he wants to learn about different species of animals and to help them by becoming a veterinarian. “As much as he checks out and reads books and magazines about animals, he could probably already get a job working with animals,” jokingly says Mrs. Alexander, Media Specialist at Finch Elementary.
Devean likes science and has completed science projects, but his favorite subject is math. “Math is everywhere,” says Devean. “If I’m good at math, I’ll be good with my money as I learn to make lots of it, save it, and help my family.”
One of Devean’s most rewarding experiences at school was attending an awards ceremony doing which some of his classmates were celebrated for their excellent achievement on the CRCT. “I was so happy for them, and became inspired and motivated to do awesome on my own CRCT the next time.”
According to his homeroom teacher Ms. Charlotte Scott, “Devean exhibits outstanding character and sets a great example for his peers.” “Devean is a well-spoken student who always pushes himself to excel,” says Mr. Gates, a Finch fifth-grade teacher. Devean believes that the toughest challenge he faces in school is being “the shortest kid in the fifth grade. Sometimes I’m bullied because of it, but I choose to ignore a bully and stay confident because I know that I may be short, but I’m tall on the inside.”
Here in Atlanta, as homelessness seems to be epidemic, Devean has his own worldview of its seriousness. At such an early age, Devean states that “if there were one way I could change the world, it would be to eliminate homelessness.” He solemnly adds, “I wish I could write a book about being a homeless kid, take it to different schools, and talk to other kids who are now homeless to give them hope because they won’t be homeless forever.” He states that he knows this to be a fact because he has first-hand experience with having been a homeless child himself. Distinctively intellectual, Devean’s thinking and reasoning skills empower him to embrace life’s challenges. He says, “I had to learn that being homeless wasn’t who I was; it was just what my family and I were going through, and it wasn’t my fault. Still, if I could change one thing in the world, it would be to eliminate homelessness.”
written by Verble Alexander, Media Specialist at Finch Elementary
Grade: 8th Grade
School: Young Middle School
Chef, athlete, and stellar academian Cameron Giles, now adds student of the week to his varied list of titles. Young Middle School eighth grade scholar, Cameron Giles, spent his formative years matriculating at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (S.A.C.A.) and West Manor Elementary. Cameron attributes his successful social and academic start to these schools.
“If it were not for my past, I would have never learned how to control my actions and better myself overall,” he explains. ” When there were things in my past that were unacceptable, I was taught to learn from my mistakes.”
Cameron is trusted by his teachers and peers alike as the consummate peer tutor. Cameron attends plays, indulges in culinary experiences across the city of Atlanta, and plays baseball, but maintaining excellent grades is his top priority.
“My schedule is intense trying to balance it all, but my parents support me in my endeavors and remind me that I can accomplish all things,” he explains.
Cameron’s plan for the future is to either be a national chef or professional baseball player.
“With all my effort that I put into my creations and exercising, I take each talent and I push it to the fullest of my abilities,” Cameron says.
Cameron has a mantra he likes to live by as he progresses through his later high school years.-‘A wise man once said, Enough is never enough.’ These are the life changing words that inspire Cameron to always give 100%. Clearly, Cameron is a young man that charts his path for the future. He knows what he wants and he puts all his effort into making his career goals and dreams become a reality. We all can agree that this adolescent is steps away from being, not only a national chef, but a remarkable asset to the culinary field. Keep up the good work Cameron!
School: North Atlanta High School
Anyone interested in learning origami can purchase a how-to guide about the Japanese paper-folding art form for about $9.99, or they can catch-up with origami expert Mak Furuta and his origami club for free. Mak taught himself origami when he was five-years-old, and 12 years later the high school junior heads the origami club he created, which has a membership 42 kids strong.
Mak began selling his paper-art when he was 12. The business grew, and now includes to two tables, a tent, a helper and a booth. And his work is so good, paper companies like Kimberly-Clark and Neenah Paper pay him for his art.
In addition to folding paper, Mak plays cello, sketches and serves as the chief designer for the school’s robotics team. Although math—specifically geometry—is his favorite subject, Mak says he is more artistic than anything else and he has a real passion for the arts. As a designer, Mak says he likes turning simple things like paper into more complex things that move and come to life.
“I designed ships and spaceships when I was younger, and I loved building with Legos,” says Mak. “I’ve always been interested in the arts and designing things.”
North Atlanta has definitely nurtured Mak’s creative brain, his passion for the arts and his knack for problem solving.
“Playing in the orchestra has opened up my overall creativity, and has helped me develop a rhythm to my work. And robotics has taught me how to figure out which ideas are practical and which are impractical, and which ideas are simple, yet effective.”
As an IB school, North Atlanta emphasizes community awareness and concern, and making effective contributions to society. Following the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Mak says that as a Japanese person he was motivated to do something to help. So he taught a group of Girl Scouts how to make 1,000 origami paper cranes which, according to Japanese legend, grants the maker one wish, which can include wishing for another’s happiness and prosperity.
Ultimately, Mak wants to enter industrial engineering, because he says the field will allow him to find innovative ways to combine his creative genius and his love for design to develop products that people can use. He looks forward to taking IB Art at North Atlanta next year, and wants to attend Rhode Island School of Design or Georgia Tech after he graduates.