Like their class mascot, the North Atlanta High School Class of 2016 are proud warriors! As the class of nearly 400 graduates walk across the stage on Thursday, May 26, they will hold their heads high as they prepare for the bright future that awaits them.
Blazing a path all their own, this year’s class can proudly boast receiving more than $19 million in scholarships. In addition to outstanding academic achievement, community service, and acceptance to six out of eight Ivy League institutions, North Atlanta High School graduates are truly in a class by themselves.
An extraordinary and caring class of individuals, some of this year’s graduates found ways to fight against discrimination and false perceptions of minorities by forming Stronger Melanin, a group that brings together people of different ethnicities and cultures. Others volunteered, while their peers excelled in athletics and the arts, and promoted the importance of increasing graduation rates among Hispanics.
And then there are this year’s top students. Representing the brightest and best at North Atlanta High School, this year’s valedictorian and saluatatorian are amazing students.
Meet this year’s valedictorian:
With a passion for science and writing, Lydia Zemmali plans to take her interests to Stanford University, where she will major in chemistry and minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. A finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in her freshman year, that eye-opening experience pushed her pursuit of a career in science. Outside the science class, Lydia was president of Model United Nations and Arab League, Student Body Secretary, Orchestra Council administrative assistant, and captain of the varsity cross country team. The active scholar credits her parents are her greatest influence. Both taught her French as a young child and provided her with cultural exposure that she perceives as invaluable. “Having a whole new cultural background that I was exposed to from birth and a new language helped me understand that you can form a depth of relationships with people when you can understand their language and culture more,” said Lydia, who has a 4.3 grade-point average. “That exposure fueled my drive and curiosity to learn about other cultures to make the best of my education.” She plans to pursue a career as a science journalist.
Salutatorian Bethany Bell is active in several national honor societies for Spanish, Mu Alpha Theta for Math (secretary), and Tri-M Music (historian and vice president) and the National Honor Society. Throughout her high school career, Bethany enjoyed cultivating her leadership skills as chief administrative officer of the robotics team, choral director in the North Atlanta Choral Department, and as captain and founder of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Some of her honors and recognitions include first place for digital photography and second place for 3-D animation at the Georgia Technology Fair; three first-place awards at the Georgia and International Media festival (photography, video production and animation); and first place in VFW regional essay competition. Her most memorable experience in high school has been participating in the International Baccalaureate program. “Being in a classroom with students who want to be in a program that offers them a cosmopolitan education was awesome,” she said. “They really wanted to learn and communicate with others to understand their global perspectives.” Bethany will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she will major in international marketing and minor in vocal performance.
In addition to this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian, STAR student and National Merit Scholar Wade Kovalik is another top student to watch. He is headed to Kennesaw State University, where he will study aerospace engineering.
Congratulations to all of our North Atlanta High graduates — You make us #APS STRONG!
Read about all of the outstanding APS Valedictorians and Salutatorians: 2016_Vals-Sals_Bios and PhAotos