We Are APS: Cole Sorina

A former teacher in Houston, Texas once told 18-year-old Cole Sorina that he would never graduate.

Boy, was that teacher wrong.

“Knowing that I will graduate in a month or so is inspiring,” Cole said. “When I was in Houston, I didn’t think I would graduate on time. I thought I was going to have to take summer classes and graduate in the summer.”

Cole will graduate from D.M. Therrell High School on May 23 and plans to enroll in a two-year college, where he will play junior-level basketball before transferring to a four-year university.

A power forward, Cole is a member of Therrell’s state championship varsity basketball team. While in Houston, he was discouraged from even playing ball.

“My dad was negative. He would discourage me from going to college. He told me to quit playing basketball. He would say, ‘you’re not unique; you’re just average,’” recalled Cole, who says he endured bullying in Houston and was inappropriately placed in special needs classes.

He knew he needed a change in environment and decided to move with his mother to Atlanta during the second half of his junior year of high school. Things have been better for him ever since.

“It’s a whole different environment because the pressure is relieved,” Cole said. “I’m not taking special needs classes here. The bullying is no more. Everybody around me knows my name and wants to shake my hand. In Houston, I had to defend myself. At Therrell, I can relax.”

Cole says he is most proud of overcoming bullying, negativity and hate. Graduating from APS “just means I made it. I shut everybody up, especially the doubters. I use everything they’ve said as motivation. I’ve inspired people, no matter where they come from, to never quit.”

“When the odds were stacked up against me, I never gave up,” he said. “I just stayed the course. Graduating was in me. I owed it to myself. What I got out of all of this was never giving up on something I love.”

Intended MajorSports Management
Career GoalSports Agent, General Manager, Business Manager
Awards/RecognitionMember of the 2019 Georgia State Championship Basketball Team, Nominated “Most Improved Student” by Elsik High School in Houston, TX

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 http://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 apscommunicationsoffice@gmail.com.

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