The voice of her senior class, 17-year-old Antonia Williams is often called upon to deliver her original spoken word poetry at D.M. Therrell High School assemblies and functions. She writes about gun violence, racism and African American culture – and all topics converge at love.
It was love, Antonia says, that allowed her to persevere through homelessness.
“It started when I was about 8 years old. We were homeless for about two years,” she said. “I was afraid of what people would think. I lost faith and hope, but I had love. Love made me push through school. My mom was always that loveable person. She has six kids, and we always encourage each other, ‘we’re going to get through this.’ Some people don’t have love.”
A lifelong Atlanta Public Schools student, Antonia says she has been in a stable living environment since 6th grade. Her journey to high school graduation has been fraught, but she is most proud of finding her voice along the way.
“Speaking pushes me through,” she said. “I’ve been speaking since elementary school. Every year I’ve gotten better at voicing my voice and being able to be a woken voice for the voices that are sleep.”
A two-time self-published author, Antonia has dreams of using her voice as a broadcast journalist. She plans to major in mass communications and has received offers to attend Valdosta State University, Alabama State University and Gordon College.
Her advice to her peers who may be traveling a similar path: “God doesn’t put you through things that you can’t handle,” she said. “Just because he’s silent doesn’t mean he can’t hear you. Just because you don’t see a sign, it doesn’t mean that the answer is not in front of your face. You just have to focus and keep grinding.”
|Intended Major||Mass Communications|
|Career Goal||Broadcast Journalist|
|Awards/Recognition||Hank Stewart Foundation talent contest: 2nd place in 2019, 1st place in 2018, SCLC Youth Speak Out contest (2013), Omega Psi Phi talent hunt 2018 and 2019 1st place winner, 2018 Therrell Talent Show 1st place winner; Awesome Girl Award 2019 recipient, Youth Empowerment and Excellent Award 2019 recipient|
Atlanta Public Schools will host high school commencement exercises Saturday, May 18 – Friday, May 24, 2019. All ceremonies — except Atlanta Classical Academy and Charles R. Drew Charter School — will be held at Georgia Institute of Technology, McCamish Pavilion,965 Fowler Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. For more information on commencement exercises, go to www.atlantapublicschools.us/gradnation.
We Are APS highlights APS visionaries (parents, students, teachers, principals, support staff, community members, partners, etc.), who exemplify our vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage, and the community trusts the system. To recommend an APS visionary for a We Are APS feature, contact your communications liaison or email firstname.lastname@example.org.