Julian Colvard is a Senior at the Carver School of Health Sciences and Research. Julian Colvard is a high school football standout and scholar with dreams of playing competitive football in college. In light of his circumstances, Julian must overcome significant obstacles to make this dream a reality. For instance, Julian wakes up at 4:59AM and walks to his local YMCA to lift weights every morning. Julian’s school does not have a weight room despite having a football team.
Afterwards, Julian walks another thirty minutes to school where he excels in the classroom. This, too, is no easy feat for Julian. During his tenth grade year, Julian struggled with math. However, he used the hour between the end of classes and football practice to attend a second math class. His hard work paid off.
To quote his teacher, Jerry Kosoff, Julian:
“was one of a few students that year who became the first to ever hit that bar on a math assessment in our school’s 9-year history.”
With regard to Julian’s commitment on the football field, Mr. Kosoff further writes:
“As a starting player on Carver’s state-qualifying team for the last several years, he has committed to year-round practices, conditioning, and film study. He makes it clear that he will stick to the things about which he is passionate, including school.”
Through Julian’s hard work, he has obtained a partial football scholarship to Clark Atlanta University.
Julian Colvard is a Project GRAD Scholar, member of the Varsity Football Team, and has won a second place award in the Health Occupation Student Association’s state competition in CPR and First Aid. Julian won third place in the nation for this same competition.
Julian’s upbringing has been wrought with disappointment, setbacks, and extraordinarily bleak circumstances. Julian’s relationship with his father is tenuous at best. Julian’s grandfather, the only consistent male figure in his life, battled addiction and ultimately disappeared from Julian’s life as well. Julian’s living conditions are often rough to say the least. As finances are a major obstacle for Julian, he has survived and persevered on extraordinarily limited resources.
Julian Colvard has persevered through circumstances unbearable to most men. As an honors student poised to play football on the collegiate level, Julian has emerged as a shining example of unwavering commitment and unshakeable character.
With regard to his future, Julian, quoting Bob Marley, says:
“Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright. That’s how I feel about my future. Somehow, some way, everything is gonna be alright.”
Sharod McClendon is a Senior at B.E.S.T. Academy High School in Atlanta, Georgia. The two men in his life were taken from him as a pre-teen. His father was murdered and his uncle went to prison. Sharod, the oldest of three children, has been raised by his mother. In addition to his coursework at B.E.S.T. Academy, Sharod has worked part-time jobs since his sophomore year of high school to support his family.
Despite the devastating losses he has endured, Sharod is a Ben Carson Scholar, Georgia Certificate of Merit Winner, BETA Club Member and President, and Vice President of the National Honor’s Society. In addition to his course work at B.E.S.T. Academy, Sharod is a dual enrollment student at Atlanta Metropolitan College and tutor to other students at B.E.S.T. Academy.
Not only is Sharod the first male in his family to graduate from high school, Sharod will finish B.E.S.T. Academy as the school’s first Valedictorian. Sharod has been accepted to Morehouse College and Louisiana State University, and was named a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship . After college, Sharod plans to attend Harvard Law School or Harvard Medical School to become either an entertainment lawyer or anesthesiologist.
With regard to the loss of his father and uncle, Sharod eloquently states:
“They made their decisions that landed them where they are today and I had to make mine. I chose to do something better, to change my family’s history.”
Sharod McClendon is much more than a scholar. Sharod has emerged as a leader and beacon of light for his community.
William Paschal is a Senior at the South Atlanta School of Computer Animation and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. William’s family has endured great financial hardship and on December 9th, 2013—just four months ago—William’s mother died suddenly of cancer.
This setback did not affect William’s commitment to service. William volunteers with the Future Leaders Christian Academy every day as tutor. William has single-handedly increased his students’ scores in Math, English, Social Studies, and Science.
With regard to his work as a tutor, Mrs. Gwen Cooper writes:
“He began his time at Future Leaders Christian Academy as a volunteer, but it became clearly obvious within days that it was imperative to make him a staff member. He stepped up immediately into his role as a mentor and tutor and began implementing his creative ideas. It was clear early on that he has all the qualities of a true leader! During his time with us, he received news of his mother’s passing. However, during his time of grief he still found it essential to call in and check on us and leave instructions while he was away. Needless to say, he only took two days off and was right back to work! We were bewildered at his level of dedication and commitment during one of the most traumatic events of his life. He has continued to rise above every obstacle set before him.”
At South Atlanta, William is involved with the Talented Tenth Mentoring Program, National Beta Club, Technology Student Association, and Student Government Association. William is also a scholar: he is on the Principal’s List, is a Georgia Certificate of Merit Winner, and most significantly, William Paschal will finish South Atlanta High School as Valedictorian.
“I do not go to school just for my benefit of gaining an education. I do not stay up until three in the morning studying because I like the work. I do not work so very hard to get an A because I like gloating to my peers about them. I do these things because I know each A I receive, each award I gain and each scholarship I receive is only one step closer to achieve my true goal, to give my dad peace of mind and live up to my mother’s dreams of becoming the successful man she wanted me to be.”
William is much more than a scholar. He has emerged as a leader in his community and sets a standard for commitment, dedication, and hard work.
Michael Williams is a Senior at B.E.S.T. Academy High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
In February of 2013, in the midst of his Junior year of high school, Michael was diagnosed with pneumonia. Shortly thereafter, Michael was sidelined, again, by a pulmonary embolism in his lungs.
While suffering from this debilitating condition, Michael spent several weeks in the hospital. He was unable to return to school for the remainder of the year. As a result of his condition, Michael also had to forgo his extracurricular activities, to include playing football for B.E.S.T. Academy, on account of his health. Just prior to his diagnosis, Michael had been awarded the 2013 Student Athlete Award.
While undergoing home schooling as he recovered from his illness, Michael not only stayed on top of his school work, he excelled academically. Now, Michael is a dual enrollment student at Atlanta Metropolitan College and will graduate as B.E.S.T. Academy’s first Salutatorian. Michael has achieved these successes despite attending weekly doctor’s appointments on account of his condition.
Michael’s illness is not the first setback that he has overcome. The oldest of three siblings, Michael’s relationship with his father is inconsistent. Michael also tries to assist his family financially while in school. His mother did not finish high school and works a 3:00AM to 11:00AM shift at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Michael’s success despite the obstacles set before him has inspired his mother to enroll in classes to obtain a G.E.D.
Michael is the Vice President of the Future Business Leaders of America and a member of the National Honor Society and National Beta Club. Michael has been awarded a Trumpet Award Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship. He has been named a Page Foundation STAR Student, Gates Millennium Finalist and is the recipient of B.E.S.T. Academy Principal’s Award. Michael is currently Mr. B.E.S.T. Academy, an honor bestowed upon him by his peers.
Accepted to the University of Georgia, Emory University, Ohio State University and Syracuse University, Michael Williams is more than a scholar. He has persevered through illness and setbacks and has emerged as a shining example of perseverance and determination.
Malcolm DeFrantz is a Freshman, Philosophy and Economics major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in Oakland, California, Malcolm DeFrantz has wasted no time making his mark on the City of Atlanta.
Malcolm was a member of his high school’s basketball team. After sustaining a debilitating knee injury during his freshman year, Malcolm made it a point to take a valuable life lesson from each of several surgeries that followed. In so doing, Michael emerged as the first African-American Student Body President at the prestigious Bentley School in Oakland, California. Shortly thereafter, Malcolm not only gained acceptance to Morehouse College and the college’s honors program, Malcolm went on to teach English language courses at the Dixi School in Yunan, China.
Malcolm is a member of the Morehouse College Business Association, Pre-Law Society, Honors Program and was the Finance Advisor to the Freshman Class Council. Malcolm is also a member of the Morehouse College Business Association’s MBA Protégé Program and was a finalist in Morehouse College’s prestigious and highly competitive Otis Moss Oratorical Contest. Only a Freshman, Malcolm has already emerged as a bright and shining star at Morehouse College and has made his presence felt internationally.