Class of 2023 Senior Spotlight

  • Continuing our tradition of recognizing graduating seniors, Fulton County Schools proudly launches its “Senior Spotlight: Class of 2023” web and video series. These 17 outstanding seniors – one from each high school – embody the spirit and fortitude of the Class of 2023. We are profiling high academic achievers, all-star athletes and award-winners, students with unusual or unique stories to share, and those who have beaten the odds to graduate.

    High school can be both an exciting and challenging time for students. Sometimes, life circumstances can "throw a wrench into the works." How we choose to respond to these unexpected challenges can be the difference between achieving success or just getting by.

    These seniors in the spotlight deserve to be recognized for overcoming obstacles and moving steadfast toward graduation. Class of 2023, we salute you for your grit and can-do attitude. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

    Please note: Videos will be released weekly in May. Please check back often!

  • Week Four
    Released May 24, 2023
    Senior Spotlight Week 4

Alpharetta HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Spencer Etheridge


Spencer Etheridge, Alpharetta High School’s Senior Spotlight, is full of gratitude.

“I’m very grateful to this school for the four years that I’ve had,” Etheridge said. “The community here, it’s so diverse, it’s so inspiring.”

In his four years at Alpharetta High, Etheridge has excelled as a student and as an athlete.

“When I’m running, every time I get that new personal best, it’s really an inspiring moment,” Etheridge said. “A few weeks ago, I finally managed to break 10 minutes in the 3,200-meter race, and I’d been trying to do that for years.”

Maintaining a balance between athletics and academics has been a challenge for Etheridge.

“There are times when it gets hard to juggle both effectively, but I had to realize you use the skills from academics in athletics, and the skills from athletics in academics,” he said. “It’s about developing that work ethic that’s going to help you no matter what you’re doing.”

Mike Womack, English department chair, and Etheridge’s favorite teacher, agrees: “Spencer is a phenomenal student. He started his junior year in my AP Literature class as a normal AP Literature student. His confidence grew largely because he was a cross country runner and one of the leaders on that team. As his confidence in the classroom grew, he really became concerned about the well-being of our entire class. He made all the students think more critically, examine the work with more layers than just on the surface, and helped us all grow as thinkers and readers.”

Eliud Kipchoge, the first runner to break two hours in a marathon, is one person who inspires Etheridge.

“He did it when people thought it was humanly impossible,” Etheridge said. “And so, he inspires me to push the bounds not only of myself, but of humanity.”

When he goes to Swarthmore College after graduation, Etheridge will live by this mantra: “Live for now, live for today.”

“I’ve learned that living in the present moment is the only way you can achieve your best, because all of you is right there.”

Released Wednesday, May 24, 2023


Chattahoochee HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Jessica Nguyen


Later this year, Jessica Nguyen will start a new chapter in her life as a first-generation college student at Northeastern University in Boston.

“I'm not sure what I want to do with my life yet or where my career is headed, but I want to see what I'm interested in,” says Nguyen. “I’ll figure that out.”

Nguyen has a knack for figuring things out.

Chattahoochee High School (CHS) counselor Deborah Blount calls Nguyen a “unique student” who took on tasks most of her peers have never had to handle.

“Growing up in Boston, she helped her parents, who are Vietnamese immigrants, with their business, managing money and helping them file taxes and typing up business documents and such,” Blount says.

“I was raised in a very big household with 16 people,” Nguyen says. “So it's very chaotic all the time, and I was always around people, so I never had peace and quiet, but I feel like that is what helped me grow as a person because they all chimed in to help me succeed, and they always encouraged me.”

Nguyen transferred to CHS in the 11th grade, and “quickly got involved in everything here,” says Blount. “She's pursuing her passions. It's not that she feels like she has to do these things, it's that she wants to do these things.”

Her interests range from fashion to business to chemistry. Nguyen says AP Chemistry is her favorite subject.

“I really like to challenge myself, do things that are not quite easy, to help my critical thinking skills,” she says.

AP Chemistry teacher Jessica Ames says Nguyen’s positive presence pushes other students to succeed.

“She's very enthusiastic about learning and cheerful,” Ames says. “That's always good in a class that's really a hard class. To have people who are happy to be there really helps lighten the mood and helps propel the class forward.”

Nguyen credits her family, especially her mother, with getting her to where she is now.

“I really want to work hard for her and be very successful in the future so that we can have a better life and give her a better life, and my whole family.”

Released Wednesday, May 24, 2023


Johns Creek HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Shelby Watson


Johns Creek High School (JCHS) senior Shelby Watson brings a specific mindset to everything she does.

“Kind words are a chain reaction,” Watson says.

“If you're kind to somebody, they're going to be able to pour into somebody else, who can pour into somebody else.”

Chellee Lovern is Watson’s Contemporary Literature teacher at JCHS. In class, Lovern says, “she's listening, she's caring and saying, ‘what can I do?’ She seeks first to understand, she asks questions. And sometimes in a self-obsessed society, she is the antithesis of all that. She is there for people, and it just warms your heart.”

Outside of class, Watson plays a central role in student life at JCHS. She was nominated for Senior Spotlight by Assistant Principal Dr. Rebecca Myers, who has worked closely with Watson.

“If you're able to have a five-minute conversation with her, you'll end up feeling like the most important person in the room,” says Dr. Myers.

Watson and Dr. Myers connected through Gladiator Army, a student-led organization focused on building community and culture at JCHS. Later, Watson approached Dr. Myers about starting a student mentorship program. The program pairs seniors with freshman to, “make them feel connected to the school,” Dr. Myers says.

“Shelby doesn't walk past someone to get to someone else,” says Caroline Walden, Johns Creek Young Life area director, a group centered on helping Christian youth grow in their faith. “She makes people feel really seen and known.”

Watson says Young Life and her family inspire her most. She calls her brother her “built-in best friend.”

She also has learned perseverance from her parents.

“My parents are entrepreneurs, so they have built businesses from the ground up,” she says. “It has been so inspiring to be around that for so many years.”

Watson says her parents’ experience “really sparked that interest in me,” and entrepreneurship is something she plans to pursue, studying either at the University of Florida or Florida State.

Though she’s leaving the halls of JCHS, Watson’s impact on inclusivity will still be there.

“That's the legacy that Shelby's really leaving,” Dr. Myers says. “That feeling of connectivity and community at Johns Creek.”

Released Wednesday, May 24, 2023


  • Week Three
    Released May 17, 2023
    Senior Spotlight Week 3

Independence HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Sam Godwin


From struggling student -- to salutatorian.

Independence High School senior Sam Godwin understands the power of discipline.

“Coming into high school, my grades were never the best,” Godwin says.

Then, like many students, Godwin fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During COVID I ended up falling behind in a lot of credits,” Godwin says. “I ended up struggling a lot throughout junior year, but basically, I just had to put my head down and keep working hard and I'm here now.”

Getting to where he is now has a lot to do with his willingness to work.

“He always has a clear goal,” says Tashema Atkinson, Godwin’s social studies teacher. “If for whatever reason something doesn't go his way, Sam is resilient.”

He is also an inspiration to other students at Independence High School.

“We’re an alternative high school,” says Brett Szymendera, head counselor at Independence. “Sam Godwin has blossomed at this school.

She and Atkinson call Godwin a “model student.”

“Sam brings to Independence what we would want all of our students to look like,” says Szymendera. “If all of our students would look at Sam and say, ‘I should do what he's doing,’ then we would have a school full of really excellent students.”

Godwin knows there are days when taking care of schoolwork is the last thing students want to do. But to succeed, he says, you have to push through it.

“Don't procrastinate any work because you won't get anywhere, and you'll just fall really far behind,” he says, “Just put your head down and work hard, and you'll be fine.”

After graduation, Godwin will attend the University of North Georgia, where he plans to major in Criminology.

Released Wednesday, May 17, 2023


North Springs HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Isaac Delaney


In a few years, the name Isaac Delaney may sound familiar to you. Today, he’s a senior at North Springs High School. One day, you might see his name on a ballot.

“He has left an impression on North Springs that's going to be felt far after he's left our four walls,” says Brian Patterson, Work-Based Learning coordinator at North Springs.

Delaney says a quote from former President Obama motivates him: “We are the change we seek.”

“If I ever see a problem in my community, my school, my homelife – I don’t walk past that problem,” he says. “I take that problem head on and try my best to fix it.”

Delaney says he has a “passion for advocacy work” that was sparked by his work with the Georgia Justice and Youth Coalition. His accomplishments also include Horatio Alger Scholar and Dell Scholar.

Everyone who knows Delaney is impressed by his work ethic, but there is something else.

“He just gives off a certain ‘it’ factor,” says Patterson. “He’s destined for greatness. Isaac just has some internal drive and internal positivity that just exudes out.”

Delaney’s life has not been easy. He has been in foster care since around the age of five. Delaney credits his support system at home and at school with his success.

“I have a long-term foster mom that I refer to as mother, and she has been the most impactful person on my life’ he says. “She taught me the value of hard work, of diligence, of caring for and loving people.”

Delaney says during high school he had to transition foster homes to be able to stay at North Springs.

“That was a bit of an obstacle, but luckily my teachers and the North Springs registrar (Ms. Lori Bryan) and Principal (Scott) Hanson, they were all super supportive, and they made that transition really, really smooth,” Delaney says.

His next transition is college. Delaney will attend Dartmouth on a full scholarship. He plans to major in Government and has his sights set on running for office in Atlanta when he is done with school.

Delaney’s advice to other students is to work hard -- and remember the power of empathy.v

“Build a relationship with your teachers, understand that they're human, they acknowledge that you're human, and I think you'll succeed.”

Released Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Westlake HS 2023 Senior Spotlight - Simeon Bunkley


Simeon Bunkley is Westlake High’s Senior Spotlight. Selected to the highly competitive Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project his junior year, Bunkley was one of 25 to 30 students chosen from 10,000 applicants across the country for admittance to the prestigious program. Now called the Veritas School of Social Sciences, the program is a pipeline to college for promising students.

“Balancing being in the program and completing my schoolwork was a lot,” Bunkley said. “But overall, I appropriated the correct time management.”

Influenced by his high-achieving mother and sister, Bunkley plans to attend college at the Atlanta University Center.

“My mother went to Clark-Atlanta University and Morris Brown College,” Bunkley said. “And my sister went to Spelman College. My mother just finished her doctorate, and my sister will finish her doctoral program next fall. That’s what I want to do.”

Tamaini Wilson, Westlake World Language department chair, and Bunkley’s favorite teacher, is confident he will achieve his goals.

“Simeon is highly motivated,” Wilson said. “He shows up very well.”

Westlake Principal Jarvis Adams agrees: “There’s a spotlight shining on Simeon. His wisdom, his desire for greatness from himself, his friends, for Westlake, is just above anything you typically see in a teenage young man.”

As he comes to the end of his time in high school, Bunkley lives by his personal interpretation of a famous Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Speak loudly and carry a big stick.” He uses the quote for inspiration and says, “Get up and let people know who you are. Show people you’re ok with being yourself.”

Released Wednesday, May 17, 2023


  • Week Two
    Released May 10, 2023

Cambridge 2023 Senior Spotlight – Sophie Brison


Sophie Brison is Cambridge High School’s Senior Spotlight. Captain of the Swim team and a four-time state champion athlete, she has developed a winning routine.

“I spend my first half of the day in the pool, and then I go straight from the pool to school,” Brison said, “Then I go back to swim.”

Prioritizing her time has helped her achieve.

“I feel like staying on top of all my work as well as my training has been a lot,” Brison said. “It’s all paid off, and I think that it helped me become a better student and a better athlete.”

Amy Rishel, Cambridge school counselor, said, “Sophie brings a lot to the table for Cambridge as a school and Cambridge as a community. She works a part-time job, she teaches swim lessons and she’s involved in extracurriculars. She’s an overall excellent student.”

Lauren Hall, head coach of the Cambridge Swim and Dive team agrees: “Sophie is an outstanding individual. Every year she’s been here, we’ve been first or second. But it’s more than podium finishes. It’s more than medals. It’s more than state championship rings, of which she has four. She brings the team together. She served as captain this year and the kids look up to her. She talks to athletes as if they’re the only ones in the room.”

Sophie will attend the University of Tennessee in the fall where she plans to swim and study business.

“I recently committed and signed there,” Brison said. “I’m heading there over the summer, and I am really excited to start that new chapter in my life.”

Sophie is a true testament of her favorite quote, “She believed she could, so she did.”

Released Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Langston Hughes 2023 Senior Spotlight - Taya Feaster


Taya Feaster is Langston Hughes High School’s Senior Spotlight. Since she began elementary school, she has had one career goal.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Feaster says.

To accomplish her goal, Feaster enrolled in the district’s Work-Based Learning program.

“She decided to do an internship at our elementary school, Renaissance,” said Langston Hughes Principal Octavius Harris. “She goes to Renaissance during her last two periods of the day to teach students. She’s also in the College and Career Academy teaching program. Taya is intrinsically motivated to be the best student she can be.”

Counselor Lindsey Hutchins agrees: “I don’t meet a lot of kids who just want to be a teacher. Taya says, ‘I’m going to be a teacher and I’m going to help the next generation of students.’”

Helping that next generation is part of Feaster’s weekly Teaching as a Profession class internship.

“I go every other day to Renaissance Elementary,” Feaster said. “I shadow five teachers alternately. The grades I visit range from third through fifth, which is my preferred teaching level. The students love me, and I love the students.”

Carolyn Holcomb, fourth grade Language Arts teacher at Renaissance, is one of the people Feaster learns from.

“Taya is an energetic, hard worker,” Holcomb said. “She has a desire for students to really understand what they’re learning, and you can tell she has a heart not just for their academics, but their social-emotional health as well.”

As an ambassador for the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Feaster has a self-reminder to keep everything in focus: “I keep my passion for teaching very close, especially when there are distractions.”

Released Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Milton 2023 Senior Spotlight - Jordon Fordham


Jordon Fordham has overcome obstacles most people never have to deal with. Fordham took nearly two years away from high school to deal with mental health and substance abuse issues. Despite many challenges, he will graduate on time and with his class this month from Milton High School.

“I took some time away [from Milton High School] mainly for myself,” explained Fordham. “From a young age, I dealt with substance abuse. I left [school] in 2019 and I didn't get back until 2021. Then even after that, I was still trying to find my peace, find my balance, and that didn't start to develop until around 2022.”

He says he has had many people who have believed in him along the way, which has contributed to his success. But some of his biggest cheerleaders say Fordham himself has the determination and stamina to catch up and finish high school successfully while staying healthy.

“Jordon is a guy who has been through a ton,” said Milton High School social studies teacher Jeannie Yancey. “He's walked a path that most of the kids in this school can't imagine. He comes in with a maturity, a work ethic, a determination, a perseverance. Jordon isn't one to take the easy path. He's one to challenge himself and say, ‘I can do this.’”

Christine Hoglander, Fordham’s school counselor, has had many conversations with him about his path, including earning a GED versus coming back to Milton for a high school diploma.

“He said he knew that he wanted to finish what he started,” said Hoglander. “He did not want to take the easy way out, and against all odds came back to Milton.”

Now that he has high school behind him, Fordham is looking toward the future.

“After graduation, I plan to go to college and aspire to my dream in art, as well as going back to working at the recovery art studio, called Rise to Recovery, as well as continuing to expand my knowledge in the kitchen,” said Fordham. “I love to cook. I love that form of giving. A good meal can change somebody's whole day.”

Said Fordham, “To me, being selected for senior spotlight means that the time that I put in, the work that I put in, the people along the way that have helped me, whether they're here or not, was not for waste, and that was all worth it.”

Released Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Riverwood International Charter 2023 Senior Spotlight - Karisa Ozaki


Karisa Ozaki is Riverwood High School’s Senior Spotlight. She has a calm, quiet, and softspoken demeanor but is a resilient overcomer graduating third in her class. Ozaki’s actions speak louder than her words.

Last school year Karisa Ozaki was diagnosed with a severe learning issue and as a result battled severe depression and anxiety.

“Given my rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) schedule I realized that it was taking me a lot longer to get things done,” Ozaki said.

Though performing at the top of her class, Ozaki had unknowingly been struggling with the learning issue at the same time.

“It was peaceful to know, but also it took a toll on my mental health to always keep pushing myself, to be everything at once, and always try and meet the academic standards,” said Ozaki.

Riverwood counselor Jonathan Altidor said, “She's very quiet but I think she's a quiet storm.”

As vice president of her senior class, she is compassionate and a leader.

“She's one of those students who will help any student. If they're going through anything, she'll be there to help them, understand where they're coming from, and be able to provide support,” Altidor said.

Christy Toledano, Ozaki’s English teacher, agrees. “She really considers things thoughtfully, carefully, and kindly,” Toledano said. “Inquisitive and patient, she showed her work ethic and dedication to rise to the challenges when things got hard in the class.”

As a member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Ozaki organized a project making self-care kits for adolescents at the Skyland Trail Mental Health Hospital.

“I thought that was a good way to give back to people who were more severely struggling [than me] and spread awareness,” she said.

After graduation, Ozaki plans to attend Georgia Tech.

“I'm going to study biology, hopefully, to be on a pre-med track,” she said.

She is still considering the specific discipline that she will study in the medical field.

Ozaki’s resilience, compassion, and commitment is why she was chosen as Riverwood’s Senior Spotlight. One of her favorite quotes is, "There's always a rainbow after the storm."

Released May 10, 2023


Tri-Cities 2023 Senior Spotlight - America Lopez


America Lopez is Tri-Cities High School’s Senior Spotlight. Raised by a single-parent father since the age of three, she has moved every single year to a new city and county.

“I am a McKinney-Vento student,” Lopez said. “That means I am under the Homeless Act. But it hasn’t stopped me from being the student I am every day.”

When Lopez was named Tri-Cities’ Senior Spotlight, Dr. Ethel Lett, principal, had the school’s translator share the news with her father.

“Dr. Lett wanted someone else to give him the good news,” Lopez said.

Lopez is a product of her father’s tenacity.

“The person who influences me most is my dad,” Lopez said. “He doesn’t miss a day at work. He’s always working, always providing. Even if I’m helping around the school building, I’m doing something that my father has taught me to do. He’s always taught me to never lose my loving and caring spirit.”

That loving and caring spirit has served Lopez well in her work with Tri-Cities’ Unidos Center. Unidos means ‘joined’ or ‘together.’ The center launched in December and offers free services to students and parents, including food, clothing, and laundry items. As a student aid through the district’s Work-Based Learning program, Lopez restocks items in the bodega, or grocery store and helps parents.

“If they need me, I’m there,” Lopez said. “It helps me learn how to manage things to help the community. One day my goal is to open my own non-profit organization for low-income schools.”

After graduation, Lopez plans to attend Georgia Tech University.

“I will be going into the engineering field,” she said.

“America is an exceptional student,” said Principal Lett. “She will go far.”

Lopez’ favorite quote as she navigates her senior year in high school is from the musical “Hamilton,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The words of the song say, ‘I’m inimitable, I am an original.’

Released May 10, 2023


  • Week One
    Released May 3, 2023

Banneker 2023 Senior Spotlight - Trinity Jordan


Trinity Jordan is Banneker High’s Senior Spotlight. When she struggled with homelessness for most of her 11th-grade school year, she was down in her confidence. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything,” Jordan said. “But toward the end of the summer, something clicked. Something changed in me, and I felt like, I couldn’t be down all the time.”

When she and her mother found housing on the first day of her 12th-grade year at Banneker, Jordan had hope again. “I think I can handle this,” she said. “We worked together, picking ourselves up. Now, we have our own place and a car. It’s still hard, but we are a lot further than we were before.”

Jordan has used her hardships to help other Banneker students. “Trinity has endured and pushed through,” says Banneker Principal Dr. Jason Stamper. “She’s talked to me and drafted beautiful plans for helping other students who suffer from homelessness, mental illness, or anything that might challenge them.”

Since she was a child, Jordan has endured a condition that could have stymied her education. “I had a horrible stutter,” she said. “I couldn’t even get a word out.”

With the help of her mother, Jordan was able to move past stuttering, though she still has times when she cannot speak. “She introduced me to a lot of tongue twisters,” she said. “We practiced them every day. And as you can see, I’m talking well.”

An avid student and athlete, Jordan set records as part of Banneker’s track team. Running the four-by-four relay, her team won the state championship in 2021.

“Track is one of the ways I just clear my mind,” Jordan said. “It’s really therapeutic.”

Jordan is enjoying every moment as she gets ready to attend college in Ohio.

“She is one of a handful of students in the United States selected as a Posse Scholar,” said Dr. Stamper. “Trinity has chosen the College of Wooster and we’re extremely proud of her.”

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Centennial 2023 Senior Spotlight - Alena Paiva


Alena Paiva checks every box on the list of a well-rounded student.

“She is a student who tries a little bit of everything,” says Chris Buechner, Paiva’s AV & Film teacher at Centennial High School. “She's an athlete. She's a musician. She's a great academic student.”

Just a few short years ago, she was new to the U.S.

“I’m from Venezuela,” says Paiva. “I moved here about five years ago. I didn’t speak the language at all, so moving was a really big thing for me. Honestly, the language was one of the things that I struggled with a lot until maybe a year and a half, two years ago.”

Paiva’s positive attitude and support from her family helped her work through obstacles that might seem insurmountable to others.

Buechner says, “she wants to try everything and learn how to do everything and anything with great joy.”

“Just being able to speak two languages and still be here and have good grades and still do a lot of stuff that I do, I feel like I've overcome a lot,” Paiva says.

Paiva brings a broader worldview to her peers each day. Shaun Manny is her AP Language teacher at Centennial.

“Her family immigrated here, fleeing from a corrupt government,” Manny says. “So, in our weekly discussions, she would bring in those types of experiences.”

Her life experience has taught her the importance of keeping the anxiety brought on by uncertainty under control.

When asked to cite a favorite quote, Paiva says it’s one from Hagrid, a Harry Potter character: “What’s coming will come and we’ll meet when it does.”

“I think I really connect with that because I just feel like I'm always so anxious and stressed about what's coming and then it's just like, it will come whenever it has to,” Paiva says.

What comes next for Paiva? She plans to major in Broadcast Journalism in college.

Wherever her path takes her, her school family at Centennial stands behind her all the way.

“Keep being curious and keep spreading joy,” Buechner says.

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Creekside 2023 Senior Spotlight - Mya Smith


Mya Smith is Creekside High’s Senior Spotlight. Since enrolling at Creekside, she has navigated her studies successfully while being involved in multiple school activities.

“I played flag football, danced on the Golden Essence Dance team, and played tennis,” Smith said. “I’ve been a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society and Women of Excellence.”

As an Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) ambassador, she has tutored students at Creekside and Renaissance Middle School. AVID helps prepare students for college, careers and life.

“Mya is an advocate for AVID and advanced placement,” said Creekside instructor Yolanda Magee. “Her responsibilities include educating district leaders, community members and school visitors on the academic programs Creekside offers. With all these amazing accomplishments, Mya was faced with a life-changing experience her freshman year at Creekside.”

“One of the biggest obstacles I’ve ever had to face was losing my mom and trying to overcome that,” Smith said. “Here I am today, and I had to push and strive.”

Since she was a little girl, her favorite subject has been English Language Arts.

“I can connect to my inner self with poems and essays,” she said. “AP Literature is my favorite because it focuses on Shakespeare.”

After graduating from Creekside, she plans to enroll at Tuskegee University on a full-ride scholarship.

“I plan to major in nursing,” she said. “After Tuskegee I plan to go to nursing school and work at a hospital.”

Creekside Principal Dr. Terrell Awak applauds Smith’s versatility.

“Mya exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded student,” Awak said. “She has been everything from captain of the flag football team to a member of the symphony. She is awesome at all the things she takes on.”

AVID instructor Patti Lee agrees. “Mya is a teacher’s dream,” Lee said. “She not only puts her all into her academic work, but she’s also willing to help those around her.”

Mya’s dream is to face coming challenges by remembering her mother’s words to her, “Never give up on your dreams.”

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023


F.A.V.E. 2023 Senior Spotlight - Caroline Ridout


Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE) is a product of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving some Fulton County students a way to remain virtual. Staff and the student body are committed to building relationships just as naturally as in brick-and-mortar schools.

FAVE Star Senior Caroline Ridout has been a big part of making the school feel cohesive. She is a member of the school’s first graduating class.

“One of the hardest things about being in a virtual school is establishing relationships, building that rapport with kids, having relationships outside of the computer and the keyboard,” said FAVE Assistant Principal Brittney Burns. "Caroline went out of her way to actually make our school feel like a school. She was a standout when it came to thinking about who our senior spotlight student would be.”

FAVE Principal Taylor Barton said Ridout is active in student life.

“[She is] diligent, hardworking, really the type of student that we strive to have throughout FAVE,” Barton said. “Not every student can thrive in an online environment, but because she is determined and passionate, she really demands excellence from herself. That is really what we love about her.”

Ridout’s favorite subjects have been literature and history, but her favorite teacher, Dr. Randye Beran, taught her math and science.

“She's really kind and patient in helping me understand her subject,” said Ridout. “I'm not the best at math or science, and she makes it easy for me to know what's going on and succeed.”

Ridout has made her plans for after high school.

She said, “I'm going to go to college, and I want to be an elementary education major. I really want to travel the world and just explore and see things, but I also want to help people and kids.”

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Northview 2023 Senior Spotlight - Sabrina Yeh


Sabrina Yeh is the best kind of leader – humble, hardworking, and focused on ensuring everyone feels included.

“She is very, very kind, possibly one of the kindest students I know in the school,” says Tania Pope, Yeh’s AP Language teacher at Northview High School.

“She's that type of person we would consider ‘the includer,’” Pope says.

Yeh impressed Northview counselor Rahman Sparks from the get-go. Sparks calls Yeh, “exceptional.”

“I first met Sabrina in 11th grade. She came in with a plan on some things she wanted to accomplish before leaving high school. She has accomplished all those things and even surpassed them.”

Yeh’s accomplishments include establishing a club called “Care for Hope.” The club provides tutoring services for special needs students, along with seminars and workshops for their families.

She inspires students, and in turn they inspire her. After graduation, Yeh will major in Psychology at George Washington University on a merit-based scholarship from the Posse Foundation. The organization seeks out students with extraordinary leadership potential.

Jeremy Woolstenhulme is the orchestra director at Northview. He says Yeh’s skills on the viola reflect her strengths as a student leader.

For a performance to come together, he says, “everyone needs to do their part.”

“Sabrina’s always been that person to do her part and help others.”

Yeh hopes to continue to help others long after she leaves the halls of Northview.

With her degree in psychology, she plans to further the mission of Katie Beckett, a trailblazer in the special needs community. Yeh says a quote from Beckett is one of her favorites.

“She once said that ‘advocacy is in my blood and my soul.’ And I deeply resonate with this quote because it motivates me to amplify the voices of the special needs’ population through my career and daily life.”

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Roswell 2023 Senior Spotlight - Brooke Morgan


Roswell High School Star Senior Brooke Morgan recommends first-year high school students get involved in many aspects of student life.

“Find your balance, find where you fit in, join clubs like crazy your freshman year, play whatever sports you want to play, take hard classes,” she said. “Do whatever you think is best for you. Then your sophomore year really adjust and find what worked out and what didn't, and then go from there.”

That worked well for her during her four years at Roswell. Morgan has been co-executive president of student council, president of Friends Club (Roswell’s community-based instruction students), president of the National Honor Society, and athletic trainer and manager of the wrestling team when the team won a state championship.

“Brooke brings positivity,” said student council sponsor Ginny Hartigan, who has worked closely with Morgan. “She constantly is a cheerleader for our organization. She is organized and on top of everything that I ask her to do, she's there before I'm there. She is fantastic at what she does in that leadership role.”

Taylor Kapusta taught Morgan AP Environmental Science and is Morgan’s favorite teacher.

“She is not only just a great student, she's a great human,” explained Kapusta. “She's the perfect example of someone who deserves a spotlight.”

Morgan says she’ll get involved early in student life at the University of Georgia, where she plans to study biology on a pre-med track and later become a physician’s assistant.

“I'm most excited for a fresh start and meeting a completely new group of people,” she said. “I'm just excited of what the future holds.”

Released Wednesday, May 3, 2023