South Fulton’s top students are being celebrated throughout the community as they count down to their graduation day.
This year’s valedictorians from Fulton County Schools in the South Learning Community and surrounding areas are: Zerian Hood, Banneker; John Igieobo, Creekside; Rayna Marie Wynn, Langston Hughes; Eddie Matthews, IV, McClarin; Camryn Banks, Tri-Cities; and Aaron Woolfolk, Westlake.
For Wynn and Hood, being named valedictorian came as no surprise. It’s a goal they set for themselves long ago.
“I set out that I wanted to be valedictorian,” said Wynn, who will attend Hampton University and study computer science. “My friends and teachers have all been pushing me and encouraging me to keep going forward for my dream.”
“I declared that I would be the valedictorian of my senior class when I was in fifth grade,” said Hood who plans to study landscape architecture at the University of Georgia. “So I feel like the pursuit of being the best was always in me from an early age. Striving for that was my goal and I made it.”
For Igieobo and Woolfolk, their families helped to drive their success.
“We come from Nigeria,” said Igieobo, who’s headed to Georgia Institute of Technology to study computer engineering. “We moved here for a better education. I don’t want to let my family down. I don’t want to let my community in Nigeria down. I have a lot of responsibilities, not only as a first generation college student, but also as an older sibling to set that standard and be a role model for them.”
Similarly, Woolfolk said, “My greatest motivation has been the example set for me by my parents and my two brothers who came before me. They did amazing academically and both got full rides to college. So I’m following suit.” He’s headed to Clemson University to study computer science.
For Matthews, his story is one of triumph over tragedy. His dreams have been fueled by the loss of his older brother. “That kept me going and made me realize what I wanted to be,” he said.
Matthews has plans to either attend Bethune-Cookman University or immediately pursue his aspirations in musical theater. But before that, he’s excited to deliver his speech as valedictorian and share his personal story.
This year’s salutatorians are: Henry Colocho, Banneker; Amanda Izuchukwu, Creekside; Trinity C’Mone Jackson, Langston Hughes; Hunter Lawrence, McClarin; Khurtasha Hutchinson, Tri-Cities; and Alexis Danielle Jacobs, Westlake.
All are prepared to take on the world. Jacobs cites her extracurricular activities like band for teaching her discipline, how to make friends and other skills she’ll need to pursue her goals. She’s headed to Spelman College to study documentary filmmaking, and she has a clear vision for herself.
“I really want to be a strong independent woman who has the skills and intellect to survive in the world,” she said. “I really want to see myself thriving.”
Photo Credit: Fulton County Schools