This year's valedictorians and salutatorians

Fayette County High School

Sonya Jooma is the Valedictorian for the Fayette County High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Sonika Reddy.

Valedictorian Sonya Jooma, daughter of Siraz and Dilshad Jooma, has a 4.0/4.31 grade point average and will be attending Duke University with a major in Biological Sciences. She has received a Liberal Arts scholarship from Emory University. Jooma’s extra curricular activities included the Debate Team, Math Team, Key Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Science Fair and Wind Ensemble. The key message of her commencement speech will be “the crossroads we will be at and the choices we will have before us.” The best advice she has received was from her parents who advised her to do her best and take advantage of her educational opportunities. Jooma hopes to be involved in biological sciences research in 10 years. She first realized she was in the running for valedictorian when she was at the end of her freshman year. Jooma said being named valedictorian is an honor and a reflection of the support she has been given from her teachers and family. She said her education in the school system has prepared her due to the high standards set by teachers. Jooma said what she will miss most are her friends and dedicated teachers who have made her high school experience more than just trudging to school everyday.

Salutatorian Sonika Reddy, daughter of Narem and Boey Kheem Reddy, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending MIT and has not decided on a major. She has received a National Merit Scholarship. Sonika’s extra curricular activities included Debate Team, Math Team, Academic Team, Swim Team, Key Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. The key messages of her commencement speech will likely be about being open-minded and receptive to change, being creative and innovative and working toward a better future. The best advice she received was from her teachers. Sonika expects to have completed medical school in 10 years and begin working on her internship. She first realized she was in the running for salutatorian in ninth grade. Sonika said being named salutatorian means that she did her school work and was responsible. She said her education in Fayette County has given her the skills and tools needed to continue her education at a prestigious university. Sonika said what she will miss are the people, having her friends in the majority of her classes and being able to talk with teachers and form relationships with them.

Starr’s Mill High School

Lauren Swany is the Valedictorian for the Starr’s Mill High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Laura Eckhardt.
Valedictorian Lauren Swany, daughter of Michael and Tere Swany, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending Davidson College with an economics/pre-med major. She has received the Bryan Scholarship. Lauren’s extra curricular activities included National Honor Society, Beta Club, National Spanish Honor Society, Varsity Womens’ Soccer, Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball. The key message of her commencement speech will be “What is the definition of success?” The best advice she received was from her parents who told her to “take it one day at a time.” Lauren in 10 years hopes to be doing something she loves and making a difference. Lauren said being named valedictorian tells her that the hard work paid off. She first realized she was in the running for valedictorian when someone told her during her junior year that she was first in her class. Lauren said her education in Fayette County challenged her academically and personally. She said what she will miss most are her friends.

Salutatorian Laura Eckhardt, daughter of Gary and Mary Beth Eckhardt, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending the University of Georgia with a major in saxophone performance. She has received a Liberal Arts Scholarship from Emory University, a Charter and Music Scholarship from the University of Georgia, a University Achievement Scholarship and Music Scholarship from the University of Illinois. Laura’s extra curricular activities included Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Jazz Band, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Ex Libris Book Club, German Club and National German Honor Society. The key message of her commencement speech will be the meaning of success while reflecting on high school memories. The best advice she received was from a private music teacher, telling her “never to be afraid to ask for something; you have nothing to lose.” Laura in 10 years expects to be finished with school and in a career she is passionate about. She realized she was in the running for salutatorian during the second semester of her freshman year. Laura said being named salutatorian means that the hard work was worthwhile and considers it a privilege to represent her class. She said her education in Fayette County provided her with a learning environment filled with teachers who care. Laura said what she will miss most are the golf cart rides with friends.

Sandy Creek High School

Anika Cooper is the Valedictorian for the Sandy Creek High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Matt Goss.
Valedictorian Anika Cooper, daughter of Sonja and Ray Cooper, has a 4.0 grade point average and has not decided on a college, though she will travel to India this summer to spend a year working with an organization that rescues underaged girls from prostitution. Anika’s extra curricular activities included Varsity Soccer, Academic Bowl, Science Olympiad and National Honor Society. In 10 years Anika said she believes she will be working with people in some capacity “by helping them and bringing justice to those who have none.” She realized she was in the running for valedictorian in her junior year. Though homeschooled for the majority of the education, Anika said the selection was not something she was competing for, “I was trying to do my best.” She said she is humbled and honored by the selection as valedictorian. Anika said Fayette County schools gave her a solid educational foundation for her future. Anika said what she will miss most are her friends and teachers.

Salutatorian Matt Goss, son of Sam and Cheryl Goss, has a 4.095 grade point average and will be attending Georgia Tech with a major in Mechanical Engineering. He has received the HOPE Scholarship. Matt’s extra curricular activities included Marching Band, Jazz Band, Math Team, Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Society. The key message of his commencement speech will center on his memories of Sandy Creek and the impact each student will have after high school. The best advice Matt received was from an older sister who told him “Don’t do anything to make the teachers not like you, it’s not worth it.” Matt in 10 years want to design weapons or defense systems to help those fighting for our freedom. He realized he was in the running for salutatorian after his freshman year. Matt said being named salutatorian means he is at the top of an amazing group of very gifted and intelligent students who have challenged and supported him. He said his education in Fayette County prepared him to go to the best school in the state, Georgia Tech. Matt said what he will miss most are the friends going off to different schools, friends he may never see again.

McIntosh High School

Shawn Yavari is the Valedictorian for the McIntosh High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Martine van Voorthuysen.
Valedictorian Shawn Yavari, son of Shapour Yavari and Reina Gabriel, has a 4.208 grade point average and will be attending Columbia University with a major in chemical engineering. His scholarships include Columbia’s Egleston Grant, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship and another from Standford University. Shawn’s extra curricular activities included Science Olympiad, National Honor Society, Math Team and Key Club. The key message of his commencement speech will be “strive to cause positive change wherever you go, leave your mark and remember the bond formed at McIntosh.” The best advice he received was to challenge himself and to work hard in areas in which he was passionate. Shawn hopes to be a chemical engineer in 10 years. He learned he was in the running for valedictorian during his freshman year. Shawn said being named valedictorian means that “people expect me to achieve great things” and that “I should surpass people’s expectations of me.” He said his education in Fayette County came by way of his teachers transferring a love of learning through their passion for their subjects. Shawn said what he will miss most are the close friends who have stuck by him.

Salutatorian Martine van Voorthuysen, daughter of Kathleen and Robert van Voorthuysen, has a 4.216 grade point average and will be attending either Emory University or Columbia University with a major in biology. Her scholarships include Emory’s Woodruff Scholarship, Columbia’s Science Research Fellowship, the Rice University Trustee Scholarship, the Tulane University Presidential Scholarship, the University of Southern California Presidential Scholarship and the Jesse Mercer Scholarship. Her extra curricular activities included Concertmaster, Symphonic Strings Orchestra, Adopt-A-Stream teamleader and Science Olympiad. The key messages of her commencement speech will be gratitude for friends and teachers and the wish that “instead of trying to acquire all the things money can buy we treasure the things money can’t buy.” The best advice she received was from her grandfather who told her to always know her own thoughts. Martine in 10 years wants to be doing a residency in pediatric neurology and perhaps starting to plan a family. Martine said being named salutatorian means the world to her because of her family and her close friend, Shawn Yavari. She said her education in Fayette County helped her learn to love learning, to form ideas thoughtfully and express them clearly. What she will miss most is the tightly-knit circle of friends.

Whitewater High School

Jenna Fair is the Valedictorian for the Whitewater High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Hannah Dudley.
Valedictorian Jenna Fair, daughter of James and Denise Fair, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending Georgia Tech with a major in biomedical engineering. Her extra curricular activities included Marching Band, Student Council, Beta Club, National Honor Society and Executive Board for the Class of 2010.The key messages of her commencement speech will include highlighting the most important events of the past four years and focusing on the essential ideals for the future. The best advice she received came from no particular person: “Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Jenna in 10 years expects to be enrolled in a graduate program at either Columbia University or Emory University. She first realized she was in the running for valedictorian in her sophomore year. Jenna said being named valedictorian means “I have not only proven myself to others, but I have also proven to myself that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.” She said her education in Fayette County has been a privilege. What she will miss most are friends, some of whom she will no longer see.

Salutatorian Hannah Dudley, daughter of Dan and Brenda Dudley, has a 4.0 grade point average and will attend Shorter College with a major in biology. She accepted the Presidential Scholarship at Shorter College. Her extra curricular activities included National Honor Society, PALS Club, Beta Club and Marching Band. The key messages of Hannah’s commencement speech will include encouraging others to strive for their full potential, being thankful for those who have helped us along the way and continue to help others along life’s journey. The best advice she received was from a teacher, Ms. Simons, who said “Don’t worry about it - worry is not good.” Hannah hopes to be an Occupational therapist in 10 years or in some occupation in the medical field. She realized she was in the running for salutatorian in her junior year and was “shocked and excited.” Hannah said being named salutatorian means that, due to hard work she can help inspire others in their journey. Her education in Fayette County has given her a foundation for the future. She will miss her teachers and friends who teach her, encourage her and brighten her days with laughter.

Landmark Christian School

Hannah Joy Gravitt is the Valedictorian for the Landmark Christian School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Kenton Phillip Slaughter.
Valedictiorian Hannah Gravitt, daughter of Randy and Laura Gravitt, has a 4.59 grade point average and will be attending Vanderbilt University with a major in pre-medicine. Scholarships include Best Buy 1500, Newnan Coweta’s Junior Miss, Georgia’s Junior Miss 1st Runner-Up and the Walmart Image Builder’s Foundation Scholarship. Hannah’s extra curricular activities included Cross Country, Track, Soccer, Chamber Singers, Beta Club, National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society. Key messages in her commencement speech will include strive not to be a success but to be of value and the Lord rewards diligence in the lives of those who live for Him. The best advice she received was from AP European History teacher Mr. Wesche, who taught her to “Choose what you love to do then pursue it passionately to glorify God.” Hannah in 10 years wants to be a pediatrician. Being named valedictorian means receiving recognition for the work and time invested in academics. What she will miss most about high school are the friends and teachers.

Salutatorian Kenton Phillip Slaughter, son of Kenneth and Angela Slaughter, has a 3.93 grade point average and will be attendng George Washington University with a major in international relations. Scholarships include the George Wahsington University Board of Trustees Scholarship and Alumni Award and the Xerox National Achievement Scholarship. His extra curricular activities included after-school tutoring, City of Refuge volunteer, Beta Club, Head Prefect and Honor board member, Chamber Singers, varsity track and field and Spanish Club. Key messages in Kenton’s commencement speech will be “There is no faith without obedience and there is no salvation without repentence.” The best advice he received was from guidance counselor Mrs. McNeil, who told him to take advantage of challenging courses and extra curricular activities. Kenton in 10 years expects to be in a Foreign Service position in Washington, D.C. He said being named salutatorian is a testament to the sacrifice and patience of his parents, teachers, friends and relatives in supporting and encouraging him. What Kenton will miss most are his friends.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School

Jessica Adams is the Valedictorian for the Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School graduating Class of 2010 and the Salutatorian is Lauren Woolums.
Valedictorian Jessica Adams, daughter of Rodney and Colleen Adams, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending the U.S. Air Force Academy with a possible major in foreign language studies. She received the Full Ride Scholarship. Jessica’s extra curricular activities included cross country, basketball, track, FLAME Team, Pro-Life Club, National Honor Society, Book Club and student government. Key messages at her commencement speech will be that “At Mercy we were taught far beyond the book, that the lessons we taught each other as classmates are beyond value and that every person in her class taught her something. The best advice she received was from her dad who said “Get ahead and stay ahead with school work.” Jessica thinks she will be in the Air Force in 10 years. She said being named valedictorian is an honor and it acknowledges the sacrifice made for academics, though it is more a statement of work ethics. Jessica realized she was in the running for valedictorian during her junior year. She will miss the Mercy staff and students and all the little ones left behind.

Salutatorian Lauren Woolums, daughter of Jeff and Kristin Woolums, has a 3.94 grade point average and will be attending the University of Georgia with a major in computer science. Scholarships received include those from Mercer University, Berry College, Tulane University, St. John’s University and LaGrange College. Lauren’s extra curricular activities included varsity soccer, football manager, National Honor Society, student government, Pro-Life Club and FLAME Team. Key messages in her commencement speech will include thanking the Class of 2010 for the years spent together and wishing them luck in their lives ahead. The best advice she received was from her parents who told her to work hard, do her best and get involved. Lauren expects to be in a career in computer forensics in 10 years. She said being named salutatorian is an honor because it means that studying hard and late nights of homework paid off. She realized she was in the running for salutatorian during her junior year. She will miss the teachers, coaches, classmates and friends and participating in athletics and other extra curricular activities.

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