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Salute to the Class of 2014 May 17, 2014

Section C

Step Into the Future

Seniors bask in accomplishments, bid goodbye to high school

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The spirit of the graduation season is captured in the balloons of these Columbia High seniors. The class will graduate on May 17 at Georgia State. There are 262 students in the senior class.

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Cedar Grove High girls (above) and Columbia High boys (left) step lively in their caps and gowns. Graduation day is May 17.

Jami Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Gateway to College seniors graduated on May 13 at Georgia Perimeter College-Clarkston.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Miller Grove seniors graduate on May 17 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Southwest DeKalb seniors snap selfies in a sign of the times. Graduation day is May 19.

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews




May 17, 2014

of 2014 Congratulations on 16 awarded full-ride Gates Scholarships your achievement!!

Dr. Shantaé Fontané Mangaroo M.D.

So proud, Winston, Jacqueline,Antwae Mangaroo

Congratulations Aurielle Brooks Valdosta State University Graduate

A member of the Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society in Social Sciences; The National Society of Leadership and Success - Sigma Alpha Pi; VSU German Club founder; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity - President VSU Chapter and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. We are so proud of you!!! Mom and Dad


D’Lawren Hicks

Chamblee Charter High School Class of 2014

We are so proud of you!!!! Mom and Dad

Established 1995 2346 Candler Road Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007

The 2014 Graduation Section is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc., South DeKalb’s award-winning weekly newspaper. Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphic Design Curtis Parker Reporters Jennifer Ffrench Parker Ken Watts The content, design and concept for CrossRoads­News is copyrighted and no parts of it should be copied, reproduced or duplicated without the express written permission of the publisher.

Circulation Audited By

“This is an opportunity to build a better life, not just for my family, but for the world around me.”

Sixteen DeKalb high school students are getting full-ride 2014 Gates Millennium Scholarships to attend the college of their choice this fall. The seniors are from nine high schools, and six of the schools – Arabia Mountain, Clarkston, Lithonia, McNair, Stone Mountain and Southwest DeKalb – are in south DeKalb County. Arabia Mountain has four recipients – Njeri Bennett, Amera Dixon, David Shoneye and Juwan Thompson, the highest number of any DeKalb school. Clarkston and Stone Mountain have three Peri Green each. Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody, Lithonia, McNair and Southwest DeKalb have one each. Clarkston’s Gates Scholars are Muhozi Aimable, Tluang Cer, and Kim An Ta. The Stone Mountain recipients are Ekue Kagni, and Vy Huynh and Thi Thong who are the school’s valedictorians. The other Gates Scholars are Peri Green, Southwest DeKalb; David Smith, Lithonia; Deona Clayton, McNair; Ashton Jordan, Dunwoody; and Juwan Thompson Chao Lin, Cross Keys. Juwan Thompson, Arabia Mountain’s student government president, Mr. Arabia and a student representative on the DeKalb Board of Education, said he will be attending Syracuse University this fall. His intended major is supply chain management or engineering and minor in corporate marketing. He said the scholarship is life-changing. “This is an opportunity to build a better life, not just for my family, but for the world around me. I promised my parents that I would work hard to get my undergraduate career paid for, and I ended up receiving funds to cover my master’s and doctorate degrees. It is truly a blessing,” he said. Southwest DeKalb’s Peri Green is headed to the University of Miami to major in computer engineering. During her school career she was active in student government, serving as junior and senior class president. She was captain of the varsity tennis team; president of Sisters in Action Community Service group; and a member of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Young Rosewood, and Beta Club. Peri said that ever since she could talk, her mother, Pyper, instilled in her that she needed to get a full ride to college. “That was always my No. 1 goal, to go to college for free,” she said. “I knew coming into ninth grade that I had to work twice as hard in everything I did if I wanted to accomplish that goal.” Each scholar gets a good-through-graduation scholarship to

DeKalb’s Gates Scholars

These 16 DeKalb County students were awarded full-ride college scholarships, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on May 1. Student Njeri Bennett Amera Dixon David Shoneye Juwan Thompson Yusra Ahmedin Muhozi Aimable Tluang Cer Kim An Ta Chao Lin Ashton Jordan David Smith Deona Clayton Vy Huynh Ekue Kagni Thi Thong Peri Green

High School Arabia Mountain Arabia Mountain Arabia Mountain Arabia Mountain Chamblee Charter Clarkston Clarkston Clarkston Cross Keys Dunwoody Lithonia McNair Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Southwest DeKalb

College Auburn University Rice University Georgia Tech Syracuse University Emory University University of Georgia Agnes Scott College University of Georgia Sewanee University Elon University College of the Holy Cross Tuskegee University University of Georgia Truett-McConnell College University of Georgia University of Miami

pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice. It also covered postgraduate studies up to doctorates, if the recipient chooses to continue studying. Nationwide, 1,000 students were selected from 44 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. The Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a flagship scholarship program of the United Negro College Fund. DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond said the scholarships are both recognition of achievement and an investment in the futures of the students. “These worthy students were chosen because of their strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and overall academic achievement,” Thurmond said in a May 7 statement. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF’s president and CEO, said that today more than ever, it is important that young people get the education they need to remain competitive in the 21st century. “For the 20,000 young men and women who will attend college as Gates Millennium Scholars, the financial support, leadership training, mentoring and academic and social support they receive will enable them to become college graduates and our next generation of leaders,” Lomax said. For more information, visit

2014 Graduations Countywide, up to 5,954 DeKalb County seniors will receive diplomas and certificates of attendance at commencement exercises.

School Seniors Graduation Date Arabia Mountain 301 Monday, May 19 Cedar Grove 204 Saturday, May 17 Chamblee Charter 323 Wednesday, May 21 Clarkston 280 Tuesday, May 20 Columbia 262 Saturday, May 17 Cross Keys 211 Tuesday, May 20 DeKalb Alternative School 8 NA DeKalb Early College Academy 37 Friday, May 16 DeKalb School of the Arts 67 Wednesday, May 21 Destiny Achievers Academy 42 Sunday, May, 18 Druid Hills 308 Monday, May 19 Dunwoody 319 Tuesday, May 20 Elizabeth Andrews 244 Monday, May 19 Gateway to College 26 Tuesday, May 13 Lakeside 376 Saturday, May 17 Lithonia 273 Wednesday, May 21 McNair 170 Monday, May 19 Miller Grove 333 Saturday, May 17 Martin Luther King Jr. 368 Tuesday, May 20 Redan 275 Wednesday, May 21 Southwest DeKalb 310 Monday, May 19 Stephenson 363 Tuesday, May 20 Stone Mountain 231 Monday, May 19 Towers 217 Thursday, May 22 Tucker 406 Tuesday, May 20 Total 5,954

Time Location 7 p.m. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church 10 a.m. Georgia State University 5:30 p.m. North DeKalb Stadium 5:30 p.m. Hallford Stadium 4 p.m. Georgia State University 7:30 p.m. Adams Stadium NA NA 6 p.m. AIC Auditorium 6:30 p.m. Emory Schwartz Center 3 p.m. AIC Auditorium 5 p.m. Atlanta Civic Center 7 p.m. North DeKalb Stadium 7 p.m. AIC Auditorium 11 a.m. GPC-Clarkston - Library Auditorium 10 a.m. Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church 9 a.m. Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church 5:30 p.m. Hallford Stadium 10 a.m. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church 7 p.m. Georgia Dome 10 a.m. Georgia Dome 6 p.m. Georgia Dome 5 p.m. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church 2 p.m. Georgia Dome 6:30 p.m. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church 7 p.m. Gwinnett Arena


May 17, 2014


of 2014


“God bless every one of them. And congratulations to all the parents and stakeholders who prayed and supported them.”

Up to 5,954 seniors lining up for diplomas across DeKalb By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The strains of Pomp and Circumstance are in the air as 5,954 DeKalb County seniors head to graduation ceremonies through May 21. This year, students will line up for their diplomas and certificates at venues from Hallford Stadium to the Georgia Dome, New Birth Missionary and Greater Travelers Rest Baptist churches, Emory Schwartz Center and the Arena at Gwinnett. The final number of 2014 graduates who will get high school diplomas was not available at press time Thursday. The Class of 2014 is being celebrated for achievements that include hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships. This year, the top students, the class valedictorians and salutatorians, boast grade point averages up to 4.2. Sixteen seniors from nine schools, including Clarkston High salutatorian Kim An Ta, got full-ride Gates Millennium Scholarships. Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews In a year when the School District was re- Members of Cedar Grove High’s graduating class attend pre-commencement exercises on Sunday at Greenforest Baptist Church in Decatur. moved from probation and claimed the No. 1 and No. 5 spots on the list of the state’s top schools, Superintendent Michael Thurmond said that there is much to celebrate. Thurmond said he is very proud of the class and its accomplishments. “God bless every one of them,” he said Thursday. “And congratulations to all the parents and stakeholders who prayed and supported them.” DeKalb School Board Michael Thurmond Chairman Melvin Johnson, who will present diplomas to Stephenson and Stone Mountain graduates on May 19, said this is a historic year for graduates. “This year we are off probation. I am excited about the opportunity they have graduating from an accredited school district.” Johnson said he wants to remind graduates that their departure from high school is only one phase of their development. “They have done well to graduate. I congratulate all of them, but they must remember that dreams will only be fulfilled if you take action. You must use this as a steppingstone to pursue goals and dreams.”


Justin Whitening Marbut Theme School 5th grade graduate

Continue the great academic achievements! We are proud of you! – The Whitening Family


Abena Bryan

Emory Law School Graduate!




May 17, 2014

“I saw a look in my mother’s eyes I had never seen before. Her eyes sparkled like stars.”

The 2014 More than 5,954 DeKalb Schools seniors are departing DeKalb high schools this week. Some will diplomas in the next few days at graduation ceremonies in stadiums, churches, and arenas. On these

Arabia Mountain (Magnet)

Cedar Grove

New citizen


By Rebecca Rakoczy

Fatima Koko was just 7 years old when her family emigrated from Sudan to the United States to escape persecution. She spoke no English when she started elementary school in Avondale Estates. “It was a major culture shock,” she recalls. “I don’t think I was bullied, but I was aware that they thought I was different.” Her family is of Nubian descent, an African minority group experiencing ethnic and political persecution in Sudan. Fatima said she learned English fast. “When all the kids would be playing outside, and I would be inside, learning how to read and write,” she said. “My father really emphasized learning the language and didn’t want us to lag behind.” Flash forward 10 years to May 12, when Fatima received her associate degree in psychology from Georgia Perimeter College and to May 16 when she gets her high school diploma from DeKalb Early College Academy. She was one of nine students in DECA’s 2014 class of 14 to get associate degrees from GPC. Fatima said she learned about the DeKalb Early College Academy as a middle schooler and immediately applied when she reached high school age. DECA students study at the academy, located in Stone Mountain at the DeKalb School System’s headquarters, for their first two years of high school, then take classes at GPC’s Clarkston Campus during their junior and senior years, which count for both high

Dallas Turner

Ashjah Hall

Phat Chang

For Dallas Turner, the idea of an engineering and music degree at Northwestern University is the most natural thing. The Arabia Mountain High Magnet valedictorian plans to pursue a dual major in mechanical engineering and oboe performance at the Evanston, Ill., university. His path to engineering came from the influence of his parents, both of whom were science and technology majors, and from the interesting projects he had in class. Dallas said he rose to the top of his class with a 4.23 GPA because he took his teachers’ advice. “They heavily emphasized that you take AP and Honors classes, and I listened.” – Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Ashjah Hall will take a giant step toward her dream of being an entrepreneur when she begins college this fall. Cedar Grove’s 2014 valedictorian will major in marketing at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Ashjah, who has a 3.84 GPA, hasn’t yet decided on a specific career, “but I think I would enjoy the challenge of business ownership.” Ashjah, whose club activities include the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Cedar Grove’s Dance Team, said she will urge classmates to “aim to inspire” in her valedictory speech. “We should inspire future generations so that they can be better than us. And if they’re better than us, the good possibilities for humanity are endless.” – Ken Watts

Phat Chang is the first valedictorian in his family. His parents, Vong Chang and Mui Sang, who emigrated from Vietnam to the United States when he was a year old, were very excited when they got the news that his 4.193 GPA had earned the top spot at Clarkston High. “I saw a look in my mother’s eyes I had never seen before,” he said. “Her eyes sparkled like stars.” Phat is headed to Emory University in the fall to study pre-medicine. Phat said his high school, which is DeKalb County’s most diverse, taught him to be understanding of different viewpoints and to be respectful of all of them. – Jennifer Ffrench Parker

DeKalb School of the Arts

Columbia (Resident)

Martin Luther King Jr.

Miller Grove

Emma Rary Emma Rary is very, very proud that she made the top of her class at the DeKalb School of the Arts in Avondale Estates. Her 4.19 GPA was enough to edge out two other students in the running for valedictorian. She said she was able to do it by being focused and organized. “I kept a list and I didn’t get hyperfocused on the little things,” she said. Emma is headed to Tulane University in New Orleans on a $30,000-a-year academic merit scholarship. Emma credits her teachers with helping her to get the top GPA, saying they “encouraged me to try for things like the Governor’s Honors Program and to take AP classes.”

Mikirra Bullard Mikirra Bullard’s GPA hovered around 4.0 since the early weeks of her senior year, so she can’t honestly say that she was surprised when she nabbed the resident valedictorian spot at Columbia. Still Mikirra, who finished with a 4.082, said she was deeply moved. With her sights set on a career in medicine as an ob/gyn, she will become a biology major at Georgia State University this fall. For her valedictory address, Mikirra said she will tell her classmates that their future is in their hands. “It’s not about where you come from,” she said. “It’s where you’re going. So never let someone else’s ideas about you dictate your future.”

Janae Williams Janae Williams wants to become an influential leader in media and has a plan to make it happen. The Miller Grove valedictorian is headed to Howard University in Washington, where she’ll major in media management. “The ultimate goal is that eventually I want to become a prominent figure, a CEO over a major television or entertainment company,” said Janae, who finished with a 4.069 GPA. In her valedictory speech, Janae will recognize classmates who might otherwise go unrecognized. “I want to remind them to remain humble in their lives and that we all have special talents and abilities that can help make life better.”

– Jennifer Ffrench Parker

– Ken Watts

Indigo Gill Indigo Gill says her mother cried tears of joy and her father took to Facebook and Instagram to tell the world about his daughter, the valedictorian. “They’re both very excited and proud, of course,” she said, “but I told them when I was in eighth grade that valedictorian was my goal.” Indigo, who finished with a 4.327 GPA, will study premed at Xavier University in New Orleans on a $76,400, full-tuition four-year scholarship. Eventually, she plans a career as an ob/gyn. She says health careers run in the family. “My grandmother is a midwife in New York,” she said. “At first that’s what I wanted to be, but she and my mother encouraged me to be a doctor.” – Ken Watts

– Ken Watts



May 17, 2014


“They are always behind me, ready to help on late-night projects and motivate me to do better on each assignment.”

Valedictorians get

pages and on C7, we feature the valedictorians of the 2014 class. These are the top students from their schools. They rose to the top of their classes by earning the highest grade point averages in their school.

n gets diploma, degree

SW DeKalb (Magnet)

SW DeKalb (Resident)

Damian Horton

Darsan DeShazier

Damian Horton knew he had a chance for top-of-the-class honors in the Southwest DeKalb High Magnet program but didn’t know which one for sure until the day administrators told him. “I knew I had a shot at salutatorian or valedictorian,” said Damian, who finished with a 4.05 GPA. “When we found out I was valedictorian, my parents and extended family were so excited, very proud.” Damian will attend Florida State University where he’ll major in computer and electronic engineering. He credits his parents, Robin Wells and Floyd Horton, for helping him to be successful in school. “They pushed me all my life to keep improving and to become a successful person,” he said. – Ken Watts

Darsan DeShazier made headlines in April when she signed a four-year basketball scholarship worth more than $100,000 to Palm Beach Atlantic University. Now the co-captain of the Southwest DeKalb High Lady Panthers is resident valedictorian. She said her parents are very proud of her. “My daddy was speechless and my mother was in tears,” said Darsan, who earned the top spot with a 3.8 GPA. She plans to major in either accounting or business and become an entrepreneur. She was a member of Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Beta Club and math club. She and her teammates helped feed the homeless and cooked meals for seniors at nursing homes. – Ken Watts

New naturalized citizen Fatima Koko will receive her high school diploma from DeKalb Early College Academy on May 16. She got an associate degree in psychology from Georgia Perimeter College on May 12. Her family is of Nubian descent.

school and college credits. While at GPC, she became involved in the Psychology Club, which fueled her interest in the discipline. Fatima will continue her studies as a junior at the University of Georgia this fall. “I am leaning toward clinical psychology at UGA, but we’ll see,” she says. Although she was very young when she left Sudan, Fatima has developed a passion for helping her countrymen. “I’m a representative in a network of people all over the U.S. who help the people in Sudan by donating money and school sup-

plies,” she says. This summer, she will travel to Ohio to be a delegate at a Nubian cultural conference. The fourth of seven children, Fatima has two brothers and four sisters. She recently became a naturalized U.S. citizen in a special ceremony in downtown Atlanta. The honors student and Phi Theta Kappa member said she is grateful for her experience at GPC. “I think I’ve built a really good foundation here,” she said. “I will be able to transition easily when I get to [University of] Georgia.” Rebecca Rakoczy writes for Georgia Perimeter College.





Tykeria Davidson Tykeria Davidson will cherish her memories of her time at Redan High School but is eager to get on with the next phase of her education. Tykeria, who topped her class with a 3.9 grade point average, will attend the University of West Georgia in Carrollton in the fall to study nursing. “They have a great nursing program at West Georgia,” she said. “It’s a career I’ve always wanted and the chance to help others appeals to me.” She said her family is proud that she is valedictorian. “My parents and other relatives are very excited and proud of my accomplishment and the hard work it took to achieve it,” she said.

Zoe-Ann Robertson This fall, Zoe-Ann Robertson will attend Cornell University on a full-ride scholarship worth more than $254,000. “My family is very excited and very proud of me,” said the Stephenson valedictorian. “It’s still sinking in.” Zoe will graduate with a 4.125 grade point average and major in biological sciences. “I want to go into surgical oncology,” she said. As she takes the next big step in her life, Zoe is still thinking of her classmates. “I encourage them to stay true to themselves even when faced with obstacles that life will toss their way,” she said.

Aliyah Copeland Aliyah Copeland closed in on her valedictorian status at Towers High last September with a 4.0 GPA. Aliyah attributes her academic success to personal traits she learned from her parents and the positive influence of her big sister, Shea-Von, a nursing student at Georgia State University. “I was impressed with how she set goals, worked very hard and achieved success,” said Aliyah, who also will enter GSU’s nursing program this fall. Aliyah said she hopes her classmates are able to savor this moment in their lives. “My message to them is that anybody can achieve excellence as long as they’re willing to commit to the hard work,” she said.

Ummar Jamal Ummar Jamal is both thrilled and humbled that he is the 2014 valedictorian at Tucker High School. He did it with a 4.35 GPA. Now he is headed to the University of Georgia to major in biology premed with HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships to cover the $8,300-a-year tuition. During high school, Ummar was president of the Beta Club, a member of the National Honor Society, and Habitat for Humanity and Interact. He credits his academic success to his parents. “They were a big influence on me,” he said. “They are always behind me, ready to help on late-night projects and motivate me to do better on each assignment.”

– Ken Watts

– Ken Watts

– Ken Watts

– Ken Watts




of 2014

May 17, 2014

“We sometimes have taken up to 22 credit hours a semester, and 90 percent of those classes were science. It was crazy.”

Ochiobi siblings graduate from Georgia Perimeter together By Rebecca Rakoczy

They are not quadruplets. But when the graduate roll was called on May 12 at Georgia Perimeter College’s commencement ceremony, the name “Ochiobi” was said four times in a row. That’s because David, 26; Grace, 24; Darlene, 22; and Gift, 19, all received Associate of Science degrees from GPC. The four siblings, who took classes at GPC Clarkston Campus, all majored in biology and all graduated with honors. They all have been accepted into the University of Georgia. Nigerian by birth, the students immigrated to the United States in 2010 to be with their mother, who lives in Marietta. They are all permanent residents of Georgia. While they came to the United States for a “change of environment,” David said they picked GPC because of its reputation as a good school where they could get individualized attention from the teachers. Gift, the youngest, had not completed high school when she came to the United States but that didn’t stop her from attending GPC. After preliminary testing, she took the GED, passing at age 16. She joined her brother and two sisters when they enrolled at

David, Grace, Darlene and Gift Ochiobi graduated from Georgia Perimeter College on May 12 with Associate of Science degrees. They all have been accepted into the University of Georgia.

the college in 2011. They often car pooled to the highest GPA. To complete their associate degrees in two years, Darlene said they went classes when their schedules allowed. The siblings, whose GPAs range from 3.5 on accelerated schedules. “We sometimes have taken up to 22 to 3.8, studied together and competed for

Seven to attend U.S. academies Stephenson High 2014 graduate Darien Johnson is on her way to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a scholarship that is worth about $250,000. Darien was one of 14 seniors from the 4th District nominated this year by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson. So far, seven of them have received appointments to attend a service academy – Military Academy (West Point), Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and Merchant Marine Academy. Since 2007, Johnson’s nominees have been awarded more than $13 million in service academy scholarships. Johnson, whose district includes portions of DeKalb, Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties, said making the nomination is easy, but it is a long, difficult road to secure the appointment. “All of our outstanding nominees possess the kind of leadership skills necessary to be successful in school, business and in life,” he said. “Graduating from a service academy ensures a good career after graduation and opens doors for the rest of their lives.” The other seniors receiving appointments to military academies are Chamblee High’s Xavier Hightower to the U.S. Naval Academy; Newton High’s Brendan Brown to the U.S. Naval Academy; Creekview High’s

credit hours a semester, and 90 percent of those classes were science,” she said. “It was crazy.” In between classes, the Ochiobis often tutored other students in the college’s math, engineering and science lab. Grace also worked as a supplemental instructor for a chemistry course. And they all became involved in STEP, the National Science Foundationfunded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program, as well as the college’s MESA – Math Engineering, Science Achievement – program. The science-focused programs encourage students to apply for undergraduate research positions at four-year universities. This summer all four siblings will be undergraduate researchers: Grace and David will work at Georgia State University, while Darlene and Gift will do separate research projects at Emory University. While the siblings did not have anyone in their family involved in a science field, they said their interest was inspired by famous physician Ben Carson. David and Gift plan to become doctors, and Grace and Darlene hope to work in the field of pharmacology. Rebecca Rakoczy writes for Georgia Perimeter College.

University of Phoenix scholarship

Stephenson’s Darien Johnson (with U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson) will attend Air Force Academy.

Benjamin and Jack O’Donnell to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; and Parkview High’s Shaquille Vereen to the U.S. Air Force Academy and Jonathan Stoves to the U.S. Naval Academy. Students receive a Bachelor of Science degree, are commissioned as second lieutenants, and serve in the military for a minimum of five years. Each year, members of Congress may nominate up to 10 candidates per opening. Service academies usually make appointments by March 31 of each year. For more information about the nomination process, visit serving-you/military-academy-nominations or call 770-987-2291.

Brooks wins Foot Locker award Nadaysia Brooks of Stephenson High, who plays volleyball and basketball, is one of 20 student athletes selected nationally to receive a $20,000 Foot Locker scholarship. Nadaysia, who is graduating with a 3.9 GPA, was captain of her volleyball and basketball teams, president of the Beta Club, treasurer of the Student Council, a track trainer, and a volunteer with schooland community-based organizations. She plans to attend Howard University and study accounting. “This scholarship gives me even more Stephenson’s Nadaysia Brooks won a $20,000 motivation to go to college, do well there Foot Locker scholarship for sports and activism. and grow,” she said on May 15. strate excellence in school, on their teams, The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes pro- and in their communities. For more inforgram honors student athletes who demon- mation, visit

Atlanta-in-DeKalb resident received a GED at age 21. Jackie Jackson has been awarded She was selected from more a full-tuition scholarship from than 160 Boys & Girls Clubs staff, Boys & Girls Clubs of America parents and alumni applicants and and the University of Phoenix to is among 80 BGCA-affiliated stucomplete an undergraduate or dents who have received scholarmaster’s degree. ships to the University of Phoenix BGCA says many adults still over the past two years. need additional education oppor- Jackie Jackson Jackson said BGCA believes in tunities to pursue career goals. the person she is destined to be. Jackson, 44, one of only 30 recipients She has been on her own since age 13. nationwide, plans to pursue a bachelor’s “As I continue my journey toward selfdegree in business administration with a empowerment through the knowledge of a concentration in marketing. great education, I look forward to following A service coordinator at the BGCA the path of my predecessors, helping those National Headquarters in Atlanta, where who need it the most.” she has worked for more than nine years, For more information, visit GreatFutures Jackson left school in ninth grade, then .org and

SWD Roman lands tennis scholarship Kaylin Roman, who lettered four years in tennis at Southwest DeKalb High, is going to Johnson C. Smith University on a tennis scholarship. Kaylin, who is graduating with a 3.2 GPA, will join former teammate and fellow Southwest DeKalb alum Jasmine Riddick, who recently completed her sophomore season at the Charlotte, N.C., school. Kaylin completed the 2014 regular season with a record of seven wins and one loss while competing primarily at the Singles 1 position. She finished the season ranked seventh overall in DeKalb County’s Singles category. In addition to being a standout performer on the school’s tennis team, Kaylin was president of Mu Alpha Theta math club and captain of the varsity cheerleading squad. She also was recruited by Savannah State, Stillman, and Benedict. Her tennis scholarship marks the sixth such award for the Southwest DeKalb tennis program in the past two years. Former Tennis Panthers who received scholarships include Riddick (2012); Felicia Penn (2012) - Tuskegee University; Kalin Harrison (2012) - Fisk University; Odell McCree (2012) - Fisk; and Quadarris Kennedy (2012) – Fisk. Southwest DeKalb hosted a Tennis Scholarship Signing Ceremony for Kaylin Kaylin Roman of Southwest DeKalb High is headed to Johnson C. Smith University this fall. on May 7 at the Decatur school.




May 17, 2014

of 2014

More 2014 Valedictorians Arabia Mountain DeKalb Early (Resident) College Academy

Columbia (Magnet)

Tecora Lawrence

Editor’s Note: These valedictorians missed the interview deadline for their profiles to be included in this edition, but they still deserve a pat on the back for their accomplishments.


Ronald McNair Sr.

Stone Mountain (Co-valedictorian)

Stone Mountain (Co-valedictorian)

Kristin Jamison

Justin Jenkins

Vy Huynh

Thi Thong

No Photo Available

Fabian Flowers

Naud Ghebre

Congratulations, Joseph E. Bell, Jr.!

Congratulations to the Class of 2014

Bachelor of Science Biology major with a minor in Chemistry

May God’s blessings continue to flow as you embark on the next phase of your lives.

Magna Cum Laude

Love, Mom, Chelsea and Catherine

Rep. Billy Mitchell District 88

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

PO Box 88 • Stone Mountain, GA 30086 • 404.656.0126 (O) • 770.465.8888 (Fax)

CrossRoadsNews Salutes You!

The Gallery at South DeKalb Congratulates the Following 2014 Graduates A TO Z KIDS Amber Delk

Southwest DeKalb High School


Janae Gaylord College

Rodriquez McCoy

Miller Grove High School

Aneisha Raglan

Miller Grove High School


Georgia State University


Mt. Zion High School

JARMAN Kristen Ghant

Columbia High School

Keely Bryant

Cedar Grove High School

LADY FOOTLOCKER Brianna Nichols High School

Shenika Ray

Georgia State University

MACY’S Tawaina Alston College

PICCADILLY Tolulope Adebayo Emory Law

RAINBOW Damian Tennyson Mays High School

UNICA Keshauna Hodges

Columbia High School




May 17, 2014

of 2014

Scenes from Pre-commencement and Graduation Ceremonies

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

A Cedar Grove High senior sports multiple honor cords. The class graduates on May 17.

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Columbia High’s Class of 2014 will graduate on May 17 at Georgia State University. There are 262 members in the senior class.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Southwest DeKalb girls beam as they mug for the camera. They bid farewell to high school on May 19.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Seniors at Miller Grove High are all smiles. They will graduate on May 17 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. The class boasts 333 members.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

The boys in the Class of 2014 at Southwest DeKalb High line up. The class, which graduates on May 19 at the Georgia Dome, includes a Gates Scholar among its 310 members.

Kelli Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The faces of two Columbia seniors are hard to read – pensive, sad, playful? They graduate on May 17.

CrossRoadsNews, May 17, 2014 - Section C  

2014 Graduation Special Section

CrossRoadsNews, May 17, 2014 - Section C  

2014 Graduation Special Section