Mekhal Jones, 17, has become accustomed to being the “new kid.” He has had stints in DeKalb County Schools and Clayton County Schools before attending South Atlanta High School, where he will graduate on May 20.
“It’s an honor to graduate from Atlanta Public Schools in spite of stereotypes associated with APS. It’s a source of pride to graduate from a Black school,” Mekhal said. “It’s also a bitter sweet moment for me. I’ve always pictured my mom being here.”
Mehkal’s beloved mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was in fifth grade. She lost her battle to the disease a week before he started sixth grade. Since his mom’s passing, Mekhal has also lost his great grandmother and two aunts to cancer.
“My aunt died of cancer during my ninth grade year,” Mehkal said. “She would always say my mom gave birth to me for her because we had such a strong connection. I was with her through her journey.”
With the guidance of his grandparents and support of his six siblings, Mehkal has thrived at South Atlanta High School, maintaining a 3.5 GPA throughout his tenure.
“I still have to remind myself that despite all the hardships, the end reward is there after all the things I’ve been through,” he said. “What happened to me made me aware that nothing is promised in life. Life just isn’t fair. I learned that when I was 10.”
Next fall, he will attend Fort Valley State University and major in computer science, as his late mother encouraged him to pursue his interest in gaming and technology while in elementary school. A singer/songwriter/pianist, he also hopes to explore his musical talents.
“This is not the end,” Mehkal said. “It’s the beginning to something else, a fresh start.”
|College/University:||Fort Valley State University|
|Intended Major:||Computer Science|
|Career Goal:||Game development/computer programming|
|Awards/Recognition:||Member of Dukes Foundation|
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.