Grade: 2nd Grade
School: West Manor Elementary
Adrienne Finley is a gifted 2nd grade student from West Manor Elementary. Adrienne is always willing to go above and beyond in her daily activities. She takes pride in earning A’s on her schoolwork and helping others. In fact, she placed third amongst the school in this year’s science competition.
Adrienne was also honored as Student of the Month, has made Principal List each year, and was recognized as Student of Year at West Manor in 2011. When Adrienne isn’t delving deep into her studies, she enjoys reading, swimming, riding her bicycle, and writing short stories. This technology savvy 8-year-old is amongst the top performing students in her technology class, as well as a dedicated member of West Manor’s technology club where she makes astonishing PowerPoint presentations.
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Adrienne responded with a long list of occupations, but a gymnast was her top aspiration. With Adrienne’s work ethic and dedication to her studies, she will surely accomplish whatever she sets out to achieve in life.
Grade: 8th Grade
School: Forrest Hill Academy
Ralph Marston said it best when he coined the statement, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” Despite the circumstances that placed our ‘diamond in the rough’ at Forrest Hill Academy, she is here displaying excellence in her work and sharing talents with her classmates. Forrest Hill 8th grader Brandy Presley is making the best out of her current situation. Even though she is no longer at her home school, the show continues to go on in a big way. Brandy’s report card reflects all A’s, and she strives to continue to better herself while being on the “A Wall of Fame.”
Intelligent, energetic, and pleasant are just a few adjectives used to describe Brandy. “She’s a success story gradually unfolding,” said Chuanitra Merrell, Implementation Specialist for Community D. “There is a high-level of determination always in her eyes.”
Not only is she making a positive impact in school; she’s also using her voice in her community. When she isn’t being a typical teenager with her friends, Brandy finds time to tutor elementary students, and lifts her voice in her church’s youth chorus.
“I enjoy tutoring younger kids; they want to learn, and I like helping them,” Brandy shared. “I think they look up to me,” she said while laughing.
College is several years away, but it is not too late to think about the future. Upon graduating from her future high school, Booker T. Washington, Brandy wants to attend Spelman College and major in History. This will allow her to pursue her dream of being a family attorney.
Great things are in store for Ms. Presley, and she is keeping her eyes on the prize.
written by Ronnie C. Banyard Jr., M.Ed., Educator, Forrest Hill Academy
Grade: 2nd Grade
School: Mary Lin Elementary
Ellie Buck is a big-hearted eight year old who loves taking care of people. She has a younger sister at Mary Lin and a two year old brother who she loves to babysit. “Ever since she was in kindergarten, she has looked after people and is very bright and caring,” says Dr. Hassan Rafig, paraprofessional at Mary Lin.
Ellie’s favorite hobby and best subject is reading. She makes it a habit to read a book almost every night, finishing around 30-40 pages before she goes to sleep. Her favorite books include Laura Ingalls Wilder, American Girl books and Judy Moody. She is very intellectual and artistic, as well. She enjoys art, drawing, and creating school projects. She hopes to become a veterinarian or an artist in the future.
Ellie loves to go to school to learn, write, eat lunch and play outside with her friends. Her goal is to improve math, and her parents are helping her every day to accomplish this. “I love Mary Lin,” Ellie says. “We have great teachers and great subjects!”
School: Towns Elementary
After searching for the perfect word to describe herself, Lauren Hester finally smiles and says, “Unique.” Is it because she has never been absent since kindergarten? Or could it be because she can perform hilarious feats with her face—like moving her eyebrows independently of each other? None of the above, according to Lauren. The Challenge student and Beta club member says she is unique, because she is not afraid to take chances and step outside of her comfort zone.
For instance, when Lauren sees a bug, she does not shriek and run away. Instead, she catches it—and then inspects it. She loves learning about all insects, animals and plant life, and she is especially fond of mosquitos.
“The females feed on blood and the males feed on nectar,” she explains unprompted. “But the really interesting thing is after she mates, the female kills the male and lays her eggs on his body. I know that’s cold, but I just think it’s a really cool fact.”
She likes attending Towns, because the school offers programs many schools do not have, like French. And she appreciates the exploratory classes Towns students take every Friday, which include the community service club and the calligraphy club—activities she says she would not know about if they were not offered at school.
Lauren also enjoys performing, and Towns gives her plenty of opportunities to do that. Delivering Towns’ televised morning announcements makes her feel like a real news anchor, and acting in the drama club allows her to perform in plays. In May she will play Ms. Hannigan in Annie, and she won’t have any trouble pretending to be the cruel orphanage supervisor.
“People have a friendly side and an aggressive side,” she says. “So when I’m acting, I just let my aggressive side take over.”
Gentrie Weaks, Lauren’s drama coach says, “Lauren is an outstanding student. We call her our ‘go-to’ person, because we can always depend on her for anything, even at the last minute. She works very hard, and gives her all in everything she does.”
Lauren’s favorite subject is Life Sciences, and she wants to be a doctor or an educator when she grows up.