Student Spotlight of the Week

Name: Odyssey Wilsonodyssey

Grade: 12th

School: Mays High School

Odyssey Wilson is a senior at Benjamin E. Mays High School- Math and Science Academy.  Odyssey is an active member of the JROTC, and she is currently ranked as a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel.

Cadet Odyssey Wilson was recently recognized for winning the national Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award for Achievement.

The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award for Achievement is the highest award a JROTC cadet can earn on merit. The award is presented annually to the top JROTC cadets across the nation that have demonstrated exemplary leadership while performing duties as a cadet and in other scholastic, community and academic endeavors.

Cadets are nominated during their junior year by the Senior Army Instructor (SAI) and principal of the school only after it has been determined that the stringent qualifications required to receive the award have been met.  Recommendations are forwarded to the Legion of Valor Board, which employs rigid standards and a thorough screening process to select the few winning cadets. Of the 300,000 high school students enrolled in Army JROTC across the nation, only 26 Army JROTC cadets nationwide were approved for the award this year. Cadet Wilson is highly qualified for this award as she is an outstanding example of a top scholar and leader within her school and community.

The Atlanta Board of Education recently held a special presentation for Odyssey and the two other APS Legion of Valor recipients, Lam Dang  from Maynard Jackson High School and Elonte’ Porter from Carver Early College, at October’s board meeting.

Odyssey credits the JROTC program for  providing her with valuable leadership skills.

“The JROTC program has taught me how to not just be a leader, but an effective leader”, she said.  “I’ve learned the importance of working with others and being able to get the job done.”

Odyssey is inspired by her grandfather who also served in the military. Odyssey’s grandfather was a Sergeant First Class in the Army, and he was involved in combat during the Vietnam War. Odyssey also credits her JROTC instructor, United States Army Major Larry Sparks, for pushing her to excel and work hard.

“I know that in order for me to get what I really want I have to be fully dedicated and work hard at all times,” she explains.

Odyssey is very active in school activities. She is the captain of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad and the activities coordinator for the Student Government Association.

After high school, Odyssey plans to attend the University of Georgia, but the life lessons and knowledge she has acquired throughout her matriculation at Mays High School will remain with her forever.

“By attending Mays High School I’ve been given opportunities that most people won’t get,” Odyssey said. “This school has helped me develop into a well-rounded individual and has even enhanced the quality of my life.”

BenteenStudentSpotlightName: Mayra Martinez

Grade: 5th

School: Benteen Elementary School

Mayra Martinez is a 5th grade bilingual student at Frederick Wilson Benteen Elementary School in Southeast Atlanta.  She has been a student at Benteen since Kindergarten and is a part of the Atlanta Public Schools Gifted and Talented Program.  Mayra is also a member of the Benteen School Orchestra, where she plays the violin. Among her many contributions, Mayra is a vital member of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Team.  During the 2012-2013 school year, Mayra earned first place in the Atlanta Public Schools Technology Fair for her digital animation entitled “Balloon Blues.”

Mayra describes herself as a smart, nice, and a talented writer. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, and reading a good book.  Her all-time favorite book is Kate DiCmillo’s, Because of Winn-Dixie.  When she grows up, she wants to be a pediatrician because she really enjoys working with small children.

In addition to her exceptional academic abilities, Mayra has a wonderful personality.  Her teachers describe her as dedicated, compassionate, and kind.  She genuinely cares about her fellow Benteen students and the teachers.  At Benteen, Mayra stands out as a leader amongst her peers, and the staff at Benteen is proud to honor her as a Student Spotlight of the Week.

dobbsStudentName: Jaquez Motley

Grade: 1st Grade

School: Dobbs Elementary

Jaquez is a model student in every aspect.  He excels in his academics and demonstrates outstanding behavior on a daily basis.

Jaquez has a great interest in learning, as he pays attention during instruction and enjoys answering questions in class. His teacher Laura Ellyson says, “I love how Jaquez listens intently to instruction and politely raises his hand to get clarification or assistance.” When Jaquez stumbles upon a concept that he does not grasp immediately, he continues to work hard rather than getting discouraged or giving up.

Jaquez consistently abides by all classroom and school rules. His teacher can always depend on him to follow directions. Although Jaquez has many friends in class, he has the wisdom to know when it is appropriate to talk or play, and when it is time to learn.  In addition to following the rules, his kind personality guides him to help others. He can often be seen helping students use the computer, clean up or with their classwork. Jaquez is a very bright child who is a great example to his peers and adds a positive energy to the classroom.

Name:  Chloe Park IMG_4998

Grade:  1st

School:  E. Rivers

Anyone in search of E. Rivers student Chloe Park need only ask for the tiny girl with the big golf clubs. Every Monday, Chloe lugs her clubs to school for her weekly afterschool golf lesson.  On Tuesdays she unwinds with a little afterschool tennis, and Friday is chess day for the for the future chess master. Add on her weekly piano lessons and her international travels, and it is clear that Chloe is one well-rounded first-grader.

“I like talking to people, so they can get to know me,” says Chloe.  She, is eager to invite others into “Chloe’s World,” which includes lots of smiles and giggles, enthusiasm, exploration, comical impressions and non-stop learning.

“My favorite thing about school is that you can read books and make friends –and we do a lot of writing. But, I love reading the most,” Chloe says.

And it shows.  The six-year-old has an impressive vocabulary, and she is already reading chapter books.  She can even spell advanced words like condensation and imagination.  The key, explains Chloe, is understanding that “t-i-o-n” produces the “shun” sound – the rest is easy.  Her favorite book, “Judy Moody,” is a chapter book that follows the humorous adventures of a third-grader.

Like Judy Moody, Chloe has her own exciting adventures to share.  She recently visited Thailand and Korea, and she says she especially enjoyed Korea, because she was able to meet her cousins, and she made a lot of new friends. She also recently traveled to Arizona, where she toured the ranger station and learned about various desert animals.  Chloe even touched a live snake, which she says was not too scary, since she knew it was not poisonous.

“It was non-venomous. That means it can’t bite you and poison you. So I touched it, but only for a little bit,” says Chloe.

Chloe also enjoys learning new things, like different languages. She speaks English and Korean fluently, she learns French at school and she has taught herself a little Spanish and Chinese, which she will happily demonstrate upon request.

More than anything else she is learning right now, Chloe says she “loves, loves, loves” Chess.

Chess instructor Ben Johnson calls Chloe a “careful and thoughtful chess player.”

“Chloe takes her time and analyzes her options before making a move. These are important strategies for chess as well as for life.”

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