True Warriors: North Atlanta Class of 2022 Reaches Final Mark With May 27 Graduation

Sage Glover and Kalani Gilliam take in the moment in Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion when they and their peers were christened as official graduates of North Atlanta High School.

As a class, they endured what can demonstrably be called the toughest span of history for any academic cohort in the history of North Atlanta High School. Their sophomore year was interrupted on March 13, 2020, by a global pandemic and they were dispersed to conduct their educational journeys at home for the remainder of that year. their junior year – for the vast majority in their number – was wholly conducted through a difficult remote-education experience. For the better part of their senior year, they navigated a year punctuated by COVID testing, another week of remote education during spring semester, and ongoing mask wearing necessitated by health concerns. The long journey across a difficult – but still rewarding – span of four unforgettable years concluded for the Class of 2022 ended on a bright May 27 morning in Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion with North Atlanta’s graduation ceremony. 

The Class of 2022, North Atlanta’s 32nd graduating class, numbered 508 strong, During the May 27 ceremony, The ceremony was presided over by Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring. District Four Board of Education member Jennifer McDonald addressed the graduating class and at-large board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown was on hand to certify the graduates. North Atlanta Principal Curtis Douglass read the long list of accomplishments that the seniors achieved both individually and collectively.  “This is a heroic group that truly defined what it means to be Warriors, in every sense of the word,” Douglass said. “As a class, they worked through so much in the course of their years. Despite the hardships, they accomplished so much and we would not be any more proud of them than we are. Graduates: go off and do great things. And never forget that you are always part of this great North Atlanta community.”   

For the Class of 2022, the class valedictorian, the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was Milan Capoor. The class salutatorian, the student with the second highest GPA, was Riley Coogan. Capoor will attend Brown University in the fall, and Coogan will attend Cornell University. The class’s STAR student – the student with the highest cumulative score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test – was Erin Hicks, who will attend Georgia Tech in the fall. As a STAR Student, Hicks was able to nominate a teacher to be this year’s STAR teacher and she named language arts teacher Erica Hiers. 

Other notable honors won by class members were Emani Stanton, a Gates Scholarship recipient who will attend Harvard University, Melanie Gomez, a QuestBridge Scholarship recipient who will attend Colgate University, and Eve Harclerode, a Possee Scholarship recipient who will attend George Washington University. Two members of the class received appointments to U.S. military academies. They are Anna Greer who will attend the Air Force Academy and Samuel Jackson who will attend – pursuant to next year’s attendance at the Naval Academy – the academy’s Preparatory School.  

Collectively, the class was awarded just short of $34 million in grants and scholarships to attend colleges across the country. Students in this academically accomplished class received acceptances at Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, University of West Georgia, Augusta State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, University of Notre Dame, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of Florida, University of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Auburn University, University of Mississippi, College of Charleston, Furman University, University of the South, Tulane University, Northwestern University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Fort Valley State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, Brown University, Colgate University, Rhodes College, Elon University, Grinnell College, Seton Hall University, Syracuse University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Southern California, among many other schools. 

Other notable and recognized graduates within the Class of 2022 were: Brooke Walker, AJC Cup award winner; Betcy Eliseo, Principal’s Cup award winner; Carson Bauer, most outstanding IB learner; Madeleine Mertens, Ultimate Warrior Award, the school’s top student-athlete award. An award for perfect attendance also went to Hemin Bhatt, who never missed a day of school in his lengthy APS journey, from kindergarten up to the conclusion of his senior year.  

For the members of this year’s senior class, many indelible memories were created during the end-of-the-high-school events held in May and sponsored by the school and the district. And whether it was the Visions of the Future baccalaureate event held at North Atlanta on May 24 or the May 27 graduation at Georgia Tech, these capstone events prompted reflective thoughts about a transformative four-year-journey now at its conclusion. “You learn so much about yourself in high school and you really grow up a lot as well,” said senior Carl Alexander. “High school can be a bit of a winding road and at times even a roller coaster. But if you just stay fixed on the ultimate goal, you make it to your destination. I’ve loved my time at North. And now I feel like I’m really ready for the next chapter – for many next chapters – in life.”  

12th grade vice principal Jill Stewart was one among many administrators who commended this year’s seniors for their tenacity, and who marveled as the intrepid group brought life back into the school as North Atlanta returned to a more normal school year during 2021-22. “This class was a pure joy to have,” Stewart said. “They were so appreciative of everything because they knew what a blessing it was to be back in the building and in full swing with all of the activities we got to have. I will truly miss this special group.”

The North Atlanta Class of 2022 is one that will be long remembered, both for what they collectively endured – and what they emphatically achieved.