CCSD Honors Class of 2013 Valedictorians, Salutatorians
From left to right, front row: Ahila Manivannan, Madison Miracle, Kasey Perrin, Victoria Cochran; second row: Taylor Wilson, Joshua Chang, Sara Graf, Anna King; back row: Jebb Ricketts, Raj Patel, Ian Donn and Margaret Hartman.
The Cherokee County School District and School Board honored the Class of 2013 Valedictorians and Salutatorians during the 13th Annual Scholar Recognition Banquet on Tuesday, May 21, 2012 at Woodmont Golf & Country Club. The banquet featured speeches by the honorees and their favorite teachers, the presentation of gifts and a buffet dinner.
The students and teachers were congratulated by the School Board, and each student received an iPad, $50 gift card, plaque and handcrafted commemorative mug. Each teacher received a
plaque and $100 gift card. The gifts were made possible by donations from event sponsors.
The honorees and their favorite teachers are:
Cherokee High School
Valedictorian Jebb Ricketts
Salutatorian Taylor Wilson
Teacher for Valedictorian: Dan Gagnon
Teacher for Salutatorian: Jay Huller
Creekview High School
Valedictorian Victoria Cochran
Salutatorian Kasey Perrin
Teacher for Valedictorian: Henry Oglesby
Teacher for Salutatorian: Cleve Ard
Etowah High School
Valedictorian Madison Miracle
Salutatorian Ahila Manivannan
Teacher for Valedictorian: Rebecca Schwartz
Teacher for Salutatorian: Dr. Claudia Larrotta
River Ridge High School
Valedictorian Raj Patel
Salutatorian Ian Donn
Teacher for Valedictorian: Matt Bohon
Teacher for Salutatorian: Chris Akins
Sequoyah High School
Valedictorian Margaret Hartman
Salutatorian Anna King
Teacher for Valedictorian: Andy Kohler
Teacher for Salutatorian: Allison Webb
Woodstock High School
Valedictorian Sara Graf
Salutatorian Joshua Chang
Teacher for Valedictorian: John Bell
Teacher for Salutatorian: Loretta Cameron
Each student was invited to speak about his or her college and career plans and had the opportunity to recognize the teacher who made the greatest impact on their educational experience. The honored teachers spoke about their outstanding students.
Cherokee High Valedictorian Jebb Ricketts will study economics at Emory University, and honored economics and history teacher Dan Gagnon, who he thanked for his lessons and
sense of humor.
“He’s one of those students who made me a better teacher,” Gagnon said.
Cherokee High Salutatorian Taylor Wilson will pursue a degree in chemistry and Russian at Vanderbilt University on her path to a career as a doctor. She recognized Spanish teacher Jay
Huller, who gave her the “confidence to carry on a conversation in another language.”
“She is going to grow up to be a fantastic woman,” Huller said.
Creekview High Valedictorian Victoria Cochran is headed to Harvard University to study chemistry and thanked Henry Oglesby, who in addition to being her math teacher, also served
as sponsor for the math team and Beta Club during her participation in both groups.
Mr. Oglesby praised Victoria for her success, not only in academics, but also in athletics and other extra-curricular activities, adding she’s such a good student, “I usually check my answer
key against hers.”
Creekview High Salutatorian Kasey Perrin, who plans to study English at Georgia College & State University and work as a writer, honored history and psychology teacher Cleve Ard. “He
showed me what it means to be a great teacher,” she said.
“It wasn’t about getting credit,” Mr. Ard said of Kasey’s academic diligence. “It was about getting more knowledge.”
Etowah High Valedictorian Madison Miracle will major in pre-med at the University of Georgia with a career planned in neuroscience. She thanked history and sociology teacher Rebecca
Schwartz for not only teaching her “classroom lessons, but also life lessons.”
“She’s very humble about her accomplishments – maybe too humble,” Mrs. Schwartz said of Madison, praising her for being genuine, compassionate and a role model.
Etowah High Salutatorian Ahila Manivannan has been accepted into the MedStart Program at Wayne State University (Detroit, Mich.), where she will major in nutrition or biology to prepare
for a career as an ophthalmologist. Spanish teacher Dr. Claudia Larrotta, she said, taught her the value of learning a new language.
“This is the greatest honor you can have as a teacher,” Dr. Larrotta said of being selected by Ahila. “She has touched my life.”
River Ridge High’s first-ever valedictorian, Raj Patel, and salutatorian, Ian Donn, were honored at the event, and both are headed to Georgia Tech.
Raj, who will major in electrical/computer engineering, recognized math teacher Matt Bohon: “In his classroom, I felt immersed in all the knowledge he has to give.”
When Raj was an underclassmen, Bohon said he sit in on Raj’s math classes “just to watch some good math,” as he already was impressed by the young man who would be his future student.
Ian, who will major in computer science to prepare for a career in robotics, thanked teacher Chris Akins for teaching him science and making it fun.
“Every year you’ve been a challenge to me,” Mr. Akins told Ian. “You would think of questions I’d never thought of before.”
Sequoyah High Valedictorian Margaret Hartman is headed to Harvard College to study biology and play on its basketball team. She plans to pursue a career as a pediatric or neonatal
surgeon and honored math teacher Andy Kohler, who she praised for his devotion to students in class and beyond, adding that he would come to her games to cheer for her.
“She’s one of those students who doesn’t stop learning,” Mr. Kohler said, noting that Maggie also is one of the students who showed great care for him after his recent loss of his son. “She’s the leader of a group of students who made life easier for me… through their compassion and thoughts and behavior.”
Sequoyah High Salutatorian Anna King, who will attend Brigham Young University to study biology in preparation for a career in the medical field, thanked Spanish teacher Allison Webb.
“She blows my mind with her knowledge,” Anna said.
“Anna has the ability to make everyone around her happier,” Ms. Webb said. “She brings blessings to everyone who meets her.”
Woodstock High Valedictorian Sara Graf will study biology at Brown University to pursue a career in medicine. She honored math teacher John Bell, who is retiring this year, noting she
had to “elbow her way in to get to see him” before or after classes because he’s so popular among students.
“I never cease to be amazed,” Mr. Bell said of Sara, who not only “knows more than we do,” but also is a talented athlete and involved student. “When Sara walks into my room, I consider it an
Woodstock High Salutatorian Joshua Chang is headed to Yale University to study mechanical engineering. His career? “Hopefully, I’ll be building stuff.” Joshua thanked math teacher
Loretta Cameron for sharing her insights about math – and life.
“I could always see his wheels turning,” Ms. Cameron said of the joy of teaching Joshua.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo and Barbara Jacoby, Director of Public Information, Communications and Partnerships, presided over the ceremony, with greetings by
School Board Chair Janet Read and an invocation by Dr. Brian Hightower, Assistant Superintendent for School Operations. The iPads were presented by Dr. Petruzielo and Bobby
Blount, Assistant Superintendent of Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning.
Event sponsors are: Platinum: Core Education, Northside Hospital-Cherokee, Poole’s Insulation Co. and Woodmont Golf and Country Club; Gold: AngelTrax Bus Video, Brown & Brown
Insurance of Georgia, The Hartford, NOVA Engineering and Traditions Turf Management Inc.; and Silver: EyeMed Vision Care, The Travel Store, Inc. and True Natural Gas.