CSKYWLA and B.E.S.T.: Congratulations to the Classes of 2016

The 2016 graduates of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) and the Business, Engineering, Science and Technology Academy (B.E.S.T.) are among the best and brightest at Atlanta Public Schools. Named in honor of civil rights leader and wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, and renowned, retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, students at CSKYWLA and B.E.S.T. proudly uphold their namesakes legacies.

From academics and athletics, to community service and outstanding leadership, the CSKYWLA and B.E.S.T. Class of 2016 are indeed blazing new trails of their own as they prepare to make their mark on the world. In addition to more than $2.5 million in scholarships, CSKYWLA and B.E.S.T. boast such academic accolades as two Gates Millennium Scholars; an Emerging Leader Scholar; two military nominations to West Point; athletic honors; and a strong commitment to community service.

As reflective of their school’s respective mottos, CSKYWLA “empowers every girl, every day,” and every young man at B.E.S.T. “enters determined and exits prepared.”

With boundless talent, determination and unyielding commitment, these phenomenal 80 scholars are college and career ready, and are ready to change the world! 

Here is a snapshot of this year’s top students: 

AVS32--alexus_clarkValedictorian, STAR student and Georgia Tech Scholar Alexus Clark strives to excel in every aspect of sisterhood, scholarship and service. In addition to serving as president of Future Business Leaders of America, Alexus is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Beta Club, and a Project ENGAGES intern at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She contributes her academic success to a love of learning and her parents’ emphasis on the importance of education. “My mom instilled in me and my sister to get our education to set up a life for ourselves that is greater than where we came from,” she said. “She also stressed for me to stay focused and not allow superficial things to deter me from accomplishing my goals.” With plans to study chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, Alexus aspires to become a pharmacologist. She hopes to influence the world through researching and developing mental illness and allergy medications.

AVS36--stiggersAs The B.E.S.T. Academy valedictorian and 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar, Qwantayvious Stiggers credits his well-deserved academic success to his family. From his three younger brothers, his mother, who is “the cornerstone from which I built this life,” to his grandmother whose passing stimulated his interest in medicine — they all provide motivation for him to strive for academic excellence and to make an impact on the world. Qwantayvious’ honors include International Science Fair finalist, Atlanta Public Schools Top Scientist, Atlanta INtown Magazine’s 8th Annual Class of Atlanta’s “20 Under 20,” and a prestigious internship at Georgia Tech’s Project ENGAGES, where he researches the regeneration of articular cartilage. “Stig,” as he is affectionately known, is headed to the University of Michigan to study mechanical engineering with aspirations of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. His brightest moment of high school was meeting Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, who became his mentor when he was a junior. “That has been the best thing to happen, because she’s so supportive,” he said. “She always says she’s ‘Team Stig.’ She has helped open up so many doors for me. It’s pretty cool.”


Salutatorian Miya J. Moon is motivated by her mother, an educator, who stresses that education can lead to success. Throughout her educational journey, Miya has displayed diligence and persistence. She is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, CSKYWLA cross country, swim and soccer teams, National Honors Society, HOSA, SGA, and the Academy Marching Band. Some of her academic accolades include being a scholar-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA for her three chosen sports; a Down Under Sports Program participant; All-State Band; Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Play It Smart All-Academic Team award recipient; and Miss National Honors Society. As a role model at CSKYWLA, it is her desire to encourage her younger CSKYWLA sisters to stay determined and persevere through any obstacles they may face. Miya plans to attend Alabama State University on a full, four-year scholarship to pursue a degree in biology with aspirations to become an emergency medicine physician. For Miya, “The Show Must Go On.” Performed by rapper Lupe Fiasco, Miya said this song speaks to her abounding resilience and determination to succeed.

AVS35--Jessie smith IISalutatorian Jessie D. Smith has been an honors student throughout his academic career. When he entered The B.E.S.T. Academy, he continued to make studying hard a priority to achieve his goal of becoming the  No. 1 student in his class. He is determined, eager and responsible, which he credits for his academic achievements. Jessie says his parents are his greatest influence. “They always push me to be the best that I can be, and they never settle for anything less,” he said. “My mom always tells me to let your failures be your motivation to get back up and try again. This has been my mantra since I’ve been in high school. It’s made me stronger as a person.” With a 93.8 GPA, Jessie is a member of the National Honor Society, BETA Club, and an intern in the respected Georgia Tech Project ENGAGES program. He plans to major in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech.

Congratulations, CSKYWLA and B.E.S.T. Academy graduates – You make APS proud!

Read about all of the outstanding APS Valedictorians and Salutatorians:  2016_Vals-Sals_Bios and Photos


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