North Atlanta Graduates Largest Class Ever for Graduation 2017

Henry Pastel and Sara Beth Cimowsky are part of the school’s largest graduating class ever.

Graduation is the culmination of four years of high school, the end-point of 12 years of a lengthy educational journey, one that takes a student from a small child to young adulthood. And for the more than 3,000 people crowded in an expansive hall in the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta on Friday, May 26, the North Atlanta High School graduation ceremony was cause for applause, cheers, tears and loud applause as North Atlanta said goodbye to the Class of 2017, the school’s 27th graduating class. With 390 students, this year’s graduating class is the school’s largest ever.

During the ceremony, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, APS board member Nancy Meister and other board members were on hand to congratulate the graduates and certify their diplomas. North Atlanta Principal Curtis Douglass read the long list of accomplishments that the seniors achieved both individually and collectively.

In its ranks, the Class of 2017 has a Posse Scholar (Raquel McDaniel), six Georgia Scholars (Avery Thomas, Caroline Cook, Summer Epps, Zachery Flash, Emma Grice, Sterling Spiegl), four students who received appointments from U.S. military academies (Zachery Flash, Jack Ferguson, Sterling Spiegl, Jarret Spiegl).

The Class of 2017’s Principal’s Cup winner was Sara Beth Cimowsky. Warrior Scholar-Athlete winner was Jackson Pearce and the Coca-Cola Golden Helmet Award went to Majeste’ Hansberry. The AJC Cup Award recipient was Raquel McDaniel and the Most Outstanding IB Learner was Tatayana Richardson. The class valedictorian, the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was Sterling Spiegl. The class salutatorian, the student with the second highest GPA, was Stockton De Laria. Spiegl will attend Princeton University in the fall and De Laria will attend Georgia Tech.

Also recognized at the ceremony was STAR student Ezekiel Day, the senior with the highest cumulative score on the SAT. Day will attend Georgia Tech. He nominated chemistry teacher Jeanne Hall as this year’s STAR Teacher.

Collectively, the class was awarded more than $22 million in grants and scholarships to attend colleges across the country. Students in this noteworthy class received acceptances at Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Emory University, Morehouse College, Spellman College, University of Florida, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, University of Michigan, University of Alabama, Wake Forest University, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Colorado, Seton Hall University, Rutgers University, Howard University, University of Texas, Texas A&M University, University of Southern California, University of California-Los Angeles, New York University, St. John’s University, Brandeis University, Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, Dartmouth College and Syracuse University, among others.

“We are sad to see such a high-achieving group leave us and this class has certainly left its mark academically,” said Principal Curtis Douglass. “But our sadness is exceeded by the pride we feel for what they’ve done. And there’s also our excitement to consider what they will do in the future. Get ready world! North Atlanta’s Class of 2017 is about to do some very big things.”