This is Cobb: Inspiring Seniors Make Up Cobb’s Class of 2024

Inspiring Seniors 2024

The Cobb Schools community is celebrating the success of the Class of 2024 this week, and for some, the diploma means more than the hallmark of their success. Their new diploma serves as proof of what they can accomplish. Their diploma represents how they defied adversity, demonstrated unwavering determination and resilience, and embody the true spirit of perseverance. Despite facing a myriad of challenges ranging from unexpected health diagnoses to the loss of loved ones, these remarkable seniors navigated life-changing and, at times, life-threatening obstacles and emerged as beacons of inspiration for their peers and communities. As they accept their diplomas, their stories serve as powerful reminders not only of their success today but also of the success that awaits them.  

Allatoona%20High%20School_Sarah%20Whaley.jpgSarah Whaley, Allatoona High SchoolAllatoona High School senior Sarah Whaley's inspiring story unfolds as a testament to resilience. Faced with the sudden onslaught of Primary Mediastinal Large B Cell Lymphoma during her freshman year, Sarah refused to let the diagnosis stop her. Despite the grueling regimen of chemotherapy, surgeries, and the subsequent post-traumatic stress, Sarah remained resolute in her determination to pursue her academic goals. Even as her mother battled breast cancer, Sarah carried on, committed to fulfilling her dream to help others by studying pediatric oncology nursing at Georgia Southwestern State University. Her triumphant return to school in August 2022, accompanied by her acceptance into the nursing program, is evidence of her steady resolve and how she is prepared to make a difference in the lives of others.

Like Sarah, Lassiter High School’s Samantha Marcus never allowed her medical diagnosis to derail her academic pursuits. While weathering the storm of leukemia, she maintained a rigorous AP schedule and a stellar 4.45 GPA. Samantha’s resilience not only served as an inspiration to her peers but also earned her the admiration of the entire Trojan Nation.

At North Cobb High School, senior Malia Everett also navigated the tumultuous waters of leukemia treatments with unwavering North%20Cobb%20High%20School_Malia%20Everett.jpgMalia Everett, North Cobb High School determination. Despite the physical toll of her illness, Malia's dedication to her studies and passion for golf remained steadfast. She was named Cobb County’s Athlete of the Week last year. She has also maintained a 4.356 GPA while competing on the varsity golf team, including the state playoffs this year. As she prepares to embark on her journey at Georgia Institute of Technology to major in Biomedical Engineering, Malia continues to inspire those around her.

Fellow North Cobb senior Kendall Vincent was diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma during his senior year. Kendall faced the challenge head-on with courage and determination. Enduring five rounds of chemotherapy, Kendall's unwavering resolve never faltered. Ahead of graduation, Kendall made a triumphant return to the baseball field and rang the bell, signifying victory over cancer. 

Sprayberry%20High%20School_Jordan%20Tolliver.jpgJordan Tolliver, Sprayberry High SchoolDespite facing the uncertainty of emergency appendectomy and complications with the surgery, Jordan Tolliver remained focused on earning his degree as a Sprayberry High School yellow jacket. Serving as an example of resiliency to his teachers and peers, Jordan kept up with his rigorous course load of AP classes and, in fact, earned all As. 

Nasir Jacobs is still turning his tassel as a member of South Cobb High School’s Class of 2024 despiteSouth%20Cobb%20High%20School_Nasir%20Jacobs.jpgNasir Jacobs, South Cobb High School having been involved in a serious accident. While Nasir was riding his motorcycle, a car hit him and caused extreme injuries. As a result, Nasir missed several weeks of school but did not allow his recovery to derail his academic progress. He kept up with his assignments even while recovering. Moreover, he remained dedicated to his therapy, determined to regain his strength and mobility so he could return to school as soon as possible. Nasir's perseverance and resilience in the aftermath of such a traumatic event exemplify his outstanding character and determination to succeed.

Nasir is not the only member of South Cobb’s Class of 2024 who did not let significant injuries stop him from graduating. Miechael Al-Mosawi and his mother were in a serious car accident. He could not attend school for several months but kept up with his classes and did not give up. He persevered in the face of all the challenges he faced. 

Hillgrove%20High%20School_Ava%20March.jpgAva March, Hillgrove High SchoolJust like the Cobb students did not let difficult obstacles stand in their way of earning their high school diploma, they are not allowing obstacles to prevent them from achieving their future life goals. Hillgrove High School senior Ava March selected Samford University as the next step in her education journey. There, she will be able to use a specially designed stethoscope to support her hearing loss while she studies nursing.

Not all the challenges Cobb seniors faced were health-related. Hillgrove%20High%20School_Jerry%20Espinoza%20Vasques.pngJerry Espinoza Vasques, Hillgrove High School

Hillgrove High School’s Jerry Espinoza Vasques did not give up on earning his high school diploma, even when he was out of school for eight months. He re-enrolled in 10th grade and took five classes this semester to graduate. He moved multiple times this year alone, but school staff helped him achieve his goal of graduating from Hillgrove. Jerry is the first in his family to graduate high school and plans to attend Chattahoochee Tech to continue his studies.

KMHS_Anthony%20Metayer.jpgAnthony Metayer, Kennesaw Mountain High SchoolAnthony Metayer’s story is about adaptability, motivation, tenaciousness, and accomplishment. He moved from Haiti to the United States last school year and quickly adapted to Kennesaw Mountain High School. Despite facing challenges, including adjusting to a new country and rigorous courses, Anthony's determination never wavered. He regularly met with his counselor to seek advice and share his goals. According to staff at Kennesaw Mountain, Anthony accomplished more in two years than most students do in four years. He excelled academically, completing 12 AP courses in his two years in Cobb while actively participating in extracurricular activities and maintaining a part-time job. His hard work paid off with acceptance offers to several universities. He ultimately chose Duke University. Pope%20High%20School_Sebastian%20Torres%20Urzua.jpgSebastian Torres Urzua, Pope High School

Sebastian Torres Urzua also had to learn his way in a new country, having signed on as a Pope High School greyhound in 10th grade. Sebastian earned straight A’s the whole time while also picking up skills outside the classroom. He taught himself several programming languages, including Python, Java, HTML, CSS, and Arduino. Pope staff credit Sebastian with encouraging others to look for the good and the ability to bring calm to a tense situation. In addition to his academic pursuits, Sebastian was a member of Pope’s varsity tennis team and was named MVP of the JV tennis team in 10th grade.

Cobb%20Horizon%20High_Emma%20Shelley.jpgEmma Shelley, Cobb Horizon High SchoolCobb Horizon High School’s Emma Shelley was adopted from Guatemala when she was nine months old. She started her K-12 journey at Smyrna Elementary School, then Campbell Middle School, and Campbell High School. She entered the Cobb Online Learning Academy in 10th grade. She has faced many challenges in her life, including being diagnosed with a life-changing medical condition in 2022. However, Emma has grown from an extremely shy young teen to a confident and determined young woman who has overcome significant obstacles to achieve her own voice and notable success both in and outside of school. During high school, she was a member of multiple clubs and has served on the Cobb County 4-H Council. She is a founding member of her school’s chapter of the National English Honor Society and has spent her summers volunteering, most recently with the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Teen Volunteer Program. Her GPA was 4.017 GPA, and she has been accepted to numerous colleges. She was not only accepted to Berry College but also given a $19,000 yearly scholarship to attend. She was also accepted directly into their nursing program without testing and awarded over $3000 a year with an additional nursing scholarship. She has also been invited to return to work with the CHOA teen volunteer program this summer.  Pebblebrook%20High%20School_Amna%20Zia.pngAmna Zia, Pebblebrook High School

Amna Zia, a standout scholar at Pebblebrook High School, exemplifies resilience and leadership. Since immigrating from Pakistan to the U.S. in 2020, she has excelled academically and led her varsity tennis team to numerous championships. Despite being the only child of a single mother, Amna's determination and passion for science and technology have driven her success in advanced placement courses. Her impressive achievements have earned her respect and admiration on campus. In the fall, she will pursue a degree in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, showcasing her commitment to her goals and aspirations in engineering.

South%20Cobb%20High%20School_Danajha%20Doe.jpgDanajha Doe, South Cobb High SchoolDanajha Doe, has defied the odds with her unwavering determination and commitment to her education. Despite juggling two jobs and caring for her 9-month-old child, she excelled in her South Cobb High School classes, consistently surpassing expectations with her assignments. Danajha has enlisted in the military to make a better way for herself and her daughter. Her proactive approach to learning challenged her peers at South Cobb and kept her teachers engaged. Even after having a car accident this year, Danajha stayed in contact with her teachers so she didn’t fall behind ahead of graduation. South%20Cobb%20High%20School_Isaiah%20Oppong.jpgIsaiah Oppong, South Cobb High School

Isaiah Oppong's journey at South Cobb epitomizes resilience and determination. Despite being enrolled in special education services since elementary school and placed on a Georgie Alternative Assessment (GAA) track throughout middle school and into his freshman year of high school, Isaiah and his mother refused to accept limitations on his potential. With proactive steps and unwavering belief, they transitioned him into general education courses, sacrificing credits earned. Supported by his mother and school counselor, Isaiah committed himself to success, attending tutoring sessions, SOAR Saturdays, and summer school. With sheer grit, he surpassed expectations, achieving a general education diploma in just three years. Isaiah's story serves as an inspiration to all who encounter obstacles on their journey, reminding us that with determination, support, and a steadfast belief in oneself, anything is achievable.

Wheeler%20High%20School_Marlon%20Louie_web.jpgMarlon Louie, Wheeler High SchoolMarlon Louie, a senior at Wheeler High School, demonstrated remarkable strength and optimism in the face of immense loss. Despite enduring the tragic deaths of his band director and father within a short period, Marlon refused to let these events diminish his spirit. His unwavering dedication to his passions, including math and performance, remained steadfast even amidst grief. Marlon's resilience and commitment to excellence earned him admiration from teachers and peers. Described as a role model both musically and personally, Marlon's boundless energy and positivity left a lasting impact on his school community. Despite his struggles, Marlon's kindness and generosity never wavered, making him a beloved figure at Wheeler. Educators at Wheeler describe him not only as a talented musician and performer but also as a beacon of hope and inspiration—a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit.

Wheeler’s Class of 2024 includes other inspiring seniors. Wheeler’s Alex Morrisette and Addison Kowall also exemplified resilience and determination on their path to graduation. Despite facing challenges resulting from attending four different schools, Alex defied expectations. He took six classes during his senior year so he could graduate on time and is now looking to the future with a career in the Air Force. Meanwhile, Addison, despite having lost her father at a young age, has remained positive and has excelled in everything she tries. She is an incredible dancer, student, and friend and loves teaching dance to young students at Rhythm Dance Center. 

Matthew Render is the epitome of a Hoya. The Harrison High School senior dealt with countless challenges after immigrating to the United States in middle school, but he earned a reputation for how he treats others. At least one Harrison educator describes him as “one of the best humans I have ever met.” A conscientious student who is loved by all and always has a smile on his face, Matthew is a tremendous athlete and a friend to everyone. He pushed himself academically and played on the Harrison golf team. He will continue his athletic pursuits in college.

As students like Matthew, Danajha, Marlon, Sarah, Kendall, and so many more walk across the stage to accept their diplomas as part of the Class of 2024, their achievements resonate far beyond academic success. Each diploma speaks to their individual journey, their stories of triumph, and the obstacles they overcame. As these remarkable seniors embark on the next chapter of their lives, they carry with them the invaluable lessons learned and the indomitable spirit that propelled them to success. 

More Inspiring Seniors Make Up Cobb’s Class of 2024