“Dress shabbily, and they remember the clothes; dress impeccably, and they remember the person.”
If this saying is true, it could be one reason Chevon Reid has left an impression on the students and staff at Forrest Hill. The 12th-grader’s good grades and well-rounded nature have also helped make him a notable personality at school.
Chevon is probably best known for always arriving at school well dressed, but the motivation behind his attire is far from superficial.
“My grandfather told my father something that my father used to say to me: ‘Make everyday your best day.’ That advice stuck with me, and for me, wearing my best is a part of being my best.”
Chevon adds that dressing nicely also keeps him out of trouble. Dressing up, he says, encourages him to behave in a manner that complements the way he looks – another piece of advice from his father. If he wears a suit to school, Chevon says he’s less inclined to get caught up in teenage shenanigans, and more likely to focus on business, which for him is classwork.
The strategy has resulted in a consistent stream of good grades for Chevon, and respect from his peers.
Forrest Hill staff member Jacory Wilson says, “Chevon is very smart and a great model for his learning community – the other young men look up to him.”
Chevon is also musically gifted. He learned to play his first instrument, the trumpet, as a ninth-grader in the South Atlanta High School band, and quickly moved to the French horn and mellophone. After playing by ear for more than two years, Chevon taught himself to read music so that he could increase his opportunities to play after he graduates in May.
Although he hasn’t yet solidified his post-graduation plans, the college-level marketing classes he took as part of a dual enrollment program between his home school, South Atlanta, and Atlanta Technical College, have Chevon leaning toward pursuing a career in the field.
Chevon realizes that hard work lies ahead, but he says, “As long as I stay focused on my future, I will be successful.”
At the start of the 2014 school year, a real gem arrived at the Sarah Smith Elementary intermediate campus. Third-grader Everett Hughen entered the school, and he took with him the same academic talents, public speaking skills and artistic abilities that allowed him to standout at the primary campus.
Smith Elementary, a Georgia School of Excellence and International Baccalaureate school, prides itself on a strong tradition of scholastic achievement and student success. Everett’s academic record and accomplishments away from school are perfect examples of this. He has been an A student since kindergarten, and last year he won a poetry contest sponsored by the Atlanta Fulton County Library. He even co-hosted a video produced by the Atlanta Public Schools Communications department highlighting Smith’s unique International Traveler’s Week program – and he did it without a script!
This year, after discovering multiplication and division – which Everett describes as “a lot of fun”—math quickly shot to the top of his list of favorites. And since he is such a well-rounded student, he enjoys delving into the arts as well. Everett frequently receives compliments on his drawings, and he applies so much passion and imagination to his art, the drawings often inspire him to write short stories, another aspect of art he enjoys.
If you spot Everett away from school, chances are you’ll find him riding his bike, playing sports, or teamed up with a friend constructing elaborate Lego structures – one of his favorite past times.
Everett loves building things, so he never grows tired of playing with Legos. This enthusiasm for building and drawing will undoubtedly come in handy once he embarks on his journey toward becoming a renowned architect.
And if Everett changes his mind about becoming an architect, the multifaceted third-grader has another talent that could open doors for him in the entertainment field: word has it that Everett is an awesome dancer. Even his mother brags about his skills. “I’ve got to admit, he’s got some pretty good moves,” she says. “And I don’t know where he gets it from.” Apparently, others share her opinion. After seeing his dance moves at a Lake Lanier dance contest last year, the judges named Everett the undisputed winner.
Joshua Bennett’s technical abilities are so exceptional, when he was only 14, adults opted to take their ailing computers to him rather than have them repaired at the popular electronics stores.
During his years as an APS student, Joshua Bennett has not only sharpened his computer and problem-solving skills, he has also become one of the top musicians on the Washington High School campus, and the high score earner for multiple standardized tests at Washington School of Health Sciences and Nutrition.
Joshua says math is his favorite subject, because unlike most subjects, math is logical and methodical. Away from school, exploring computer hardware, programming and problem solving pique his interest more than anything, so Joshua has decided to major in computer science in college.
As a member of the famed Booker T. Washington High School band, Joshua says he wants to continue his musical pursuits, so he plans to minor in music. Joshua has played band instruments since fourth grade; he currently plays trumpet, baritone and tuba, his favorite. Washington band director James Anderson says he has no doubt that Joshua will receive a music scholarship because of the discipline, commitment and focus he has applied while in the BTW band.
“It will all serve him well during his auditions for college scholarships,” says Anderson. “Most students won’t take the time to learn and master every scale. The fact that Joshua has pushed himself to learn them will really make him stand out in his auditions.”
Joshua earned the highest score at his school for the Georgia High School Graduation Test and the ASVAB, the U.S. Military entrance exam. And while he is considering joining the Navy, Joshua admits that the four-year commitment concerns him. “I kind of want to have the four-year college experience. I want to have fun,” he says.
Joshua cites “the desire to overcome adversity” as his motivation to succeed, and says he has seen what happens when people cut their education short. After graduating from college, Joshua wants to become a computer systems analyst, and further down the road, he would like to become the CIO of a Fortune 500 company.
School: Morningside Elementary School
Ten-year-old Sophie Lyman loves to curl up on her sofa with a good book or her Kindle and read for hours. In addition to reading, She attends modern dance classes and sings in the school choir and the Atlanta Public Schools Honor Chorus. Sophie also loves drawing cats (like her friendly cat Lloyd) and other assorted animals.
She is an A student, and likes attending Morningside, because the teachers make learning fun, and it’s very easy to make friends there — there are lots of people to choose from at Morningside!
Her favorite class is Challenge, because of all the fun things they do in the class, and her favorite subject is reading. She especially enjoys reading “The Penderwicks” books, a series of books about four sisters and their amazing adventures. The books are very well written, and the words are so perfectly chosen, readers can imagine exactly what each scene looks like, and they actually feel like they are one of the characters.
To her friends she is known as a funny, enthusiastic girl who can’t stand it when she is unable to find the right words to express herself. To her teachers she is a girl with an imagination and a love for learning. Her favorite subject being reading, Sophie is known for her expressive oral reports and creative ways of voicing her thoughts aloud. Overall, she is very excited about being chosen as one of this month’s Student Spotlight and hopes she has not bored you with this interview!
Submitted by Sophie Lyman, fourth-grader, Morningside Elementary School