Meet the top Fayette students in the Class of 2016

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The 2015-2016 school year in Fayette County has come to a close. And with the end of the school year it is time to take a look at the valedictorians and salutatorians at each of Fayette’s five public high schools.

Each of the valedictorians and salutatorians were asked a number of questions by the school system. Several of those questions and their responses are included below.

The Fayette County High School Valedictorian for 2016 is Raahina Malik, daughter of Amanullah and Shairoz Mailk.

Raahina will be graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending Duke University with a major in neuroscience or global health.

Raahina responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“I want to emphasize the importance of the members of our class to reach our full potential by further exploring and pursuing our passions and persevering through any worries and fear. When there is a will, there is a way. Each of us have dedicated ourselves to activities and endeavors that have allowed us to grow from the freshmen who nervously walked through the doors of FCHS to the seniors ready to step out and make a difference in the world.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“My parents both gave me a brilliant piece of advice: My dad said that no matter what you accomplish or which direction life takes you, never forget your core values and ethics, faith, humility and where you came from. He taught me that my experiences can propel me to achieve success while continuously being kind and giving to others. And through her advice, my mom has inspired me to continue a process of life-long learning and encouraged me to overcome my obstacles and make the best of every moment. I also hope to incorporate this advice with the basis of my commencement speech.”

What does the honor of being named valedictorian mean to you?

“Being named valedictorian is a culmination of not only my work ethic and perseverance, especially in times of difficulty, but a testament to my unconditionally supportive family, teachers and friends. This honor also means that I represent the class of 2016 in leading the seniors with diligence and encouragement. I am deeply honored to be the FCHS valedictorian, representing a diverse, intelligent and motivated class!”

The Fayette County High School Salutatorian for 2016 is Musab Javed, son of Fatima and Syed Javed.

Musab will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend Yale University with a major in computer science.

Musab responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“I plan on motivating the students in my class to find their talents and pursue them by convincing them that this is just the beginning.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“My brother once told me to be flexible. He told me about the people he knows at work and how some people who he knew worked in the same positions for many years while others earned leadership positions and saw many promotions. The difference between these two groups was that one was flexible. This advice encouraged me to never be afraid of trying new things and to always be willing to change myself for the better.”

What does the honor of being named salutatorian mean to you?

“It was the first major achievement of my life and meant that my hard work had paid off. It also means that I have the capability of achieving my dreams, no matter how ambitious, if I really want to and put my heart to it.”

The McIntosh High School Valedictorian for 2016 is Amelia Traylor, daughter of Jane and David Traylor.

Amelia will graduate with a 4.286 grade point average and will attend Stanford University with a major in biomechanical engineering.

Amelia responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“After four years of high school, it is time to determine looking back exactly how high school has shaped you and what legacy you are leaving behind you so that you can move forward with an understanding of where you are and how far you still have to go.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“I was told again and again by parents and teachers that I should not choose how I spend my time in high school based on building up the perfect resume to get into the best colleges. Only the activities that you are truly passionate about are worth pursuing in the end. Without this advice, I can imagine that the past four years would have been nothing more than a frantic attempt to do more, be more and get more leadership roles. However, the relationships I have built and the passions I have discovered instead are worth far more than the college acceptances I received anyway.”

What does the honor of being named valedictorian mean to you?

“Representing my class as valedictorian is almost surreal. Looking back on every late night (or early morning), every stress breakdown, and every time I chose to push myself just a little bit further to excel, I know that I have worked hard to be where I am, but there are plenty of people in my class who have worked just as hard if not harder. However, there can only be one valedictorian and I have realized that the title itself is empty if you did not challenge yourself to earn it. I am more proud of every moment where I put in the extra effort to succeed than I am of the title that those moments earned me.”

The McIntosh High School Salutatorian for 2016 is Julie Lim, daughter of Juliana Choi.

Julie will graduate with a 4.429 grade point average and will attend either Dartmouth College or Georgia Tech with a major in biochemistry.

Julie responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“I would like to focus my commencement speech on taking risks and exploring new opportunities. I hope that my classmates and I will take the skills that we learned at McIntosh and apply them to our colleges and universities in order to succeed.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“Take life one day at a time. I honestly don’t remember who told me, but I would assume that it was a friend or a teacher. This piece of advice helps me put my activities and responsibility in perspective to the rest of my week, and it helps me manage everything that I have to. It prevents me from being overwhelmed and enjoy the little moments in life.”

What does the honor of being named salutatorian mean to you?

“It is greatly humbling to be a representative for my class and to be one of the last individuals to officially address my student group as a whole. The recognition and honor of being named salutatorian should reflect McIntosh ideals for success and sincerity, so wherever I go, I will try to uphold these values. I feel extremely blessed and could not be more excited for my classmates!”

The Sandy Creek High School Valedictorian for 2016 is Chandini Kannan, daughter of Krishaveni and Narasimhan Kannan.

Chandini will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend the University of Georgia with major in public health/pre-med.

Chandini responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“The key message of my commencement speech will be that the journey to your happiness and success will consist of mistakes and failures, and there can be no fault in that, for we are not perfect and will reach our destination as imperfect beings who have overcome a struggle.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“The best piece of advice I was given in high school came from the most influential teacher I have ever had, Mr. Craig Robertson. He is the inspiration to my commencement speech, and I will keep his advice with me for as long as I live. It was that ‘after you’ve done all you can, you just stand’ (“Stand” – Donnie McClurkin). He taught me that I will fall and fail and make mistakes, but after I have done everything in my power, all I have to do is learn from it and stand, and ‘watch the Lord see you through.”

What does the honor of being named Valedictorian mean to you?

“The honor means the world to me. The title proves to not only others around me but to myself that everything I have been working towards these past four years has meant something. I feel accomplished.”

The Sandy Creek High School Salutatorian for 2016 is Sally Carroll, daughter of Timothy and Regina Carroll.

Sally will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend Georgia Tech with a major in chemical engineering.

Sally responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“The key message of my commencement speech portrays my belief that everything happens for a reason. Every moment in our lives helps make us who we are, and we must draw upon the experiences over the past four years to guide us through our future.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“In freshman year, I did not know what major I wanted to pursue in college. My dad suggested that I get an engineering degree to open the doors to many different opportunities. Because of this advice, I have taken a wide range of math classes at Clayton State University and have found a love for both math and science.”

What does the honor of being named salutatorian mean to you?

“It is a great honor to carry the title of Sandy Creek High School’s salutatorian. I believe that I can use this opportunity as a platform to be a role model in our society.”

The Starr’s Mill High School Valedictorian for 2016 is Hannah Lachmayr, daughter of Philip and Margaret Lachmayr.

Hannah will graduate with a 4.311 grade point average and will attend Georgia Tech with a major in biochemistry.

Hannah responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“I will highlight the events of the past four years and remind the audience that change is good since it brings new opportunities, but I will also say that we will always remember and refer to the past.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“My cello teacher, Nan Kemberling, once told me that I could chose to have everyone like me or to have a few enemies, the later requiring assertiveness. She was trying to make the point that in life we frequently give into others’ requests and can be pushovers but that sometimes we must make decisions for ourselves, even if we know that doing so will not please everybody. Since I tend to be on the indecisive side and since I usually want to please people, this advice has made me a more powerful person.”

What does the honor of being named valedictorian mean to you?

“To me, being the valedictorian does not mean that I am smarter or superior to other students at Starr’s Mill; it means that I must give a closure and farewell to the class with the valedictory. It is my job to remind my classmates of the good times in high school and to remind them that they should be proud of the hard work that enabled them to graduate, as I wish them the best of luck in future endeavors since I know that they will succeed in whichever path they choose.”

The Starr’s Mill High School Salutatorian for 2016 is Kelly Wildermuth, daughter of Kevin and Kathy Wildermuth.

Kelly will graduate with a 4.07 grad point average and will attend Stetson University with a major in music education.

Kelly responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“The key message is to remember that graduation is a significant accomplishment that should be savored, not just a means to an end as we move on to the next part of our lives.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“One of my best friends is incessantly telling me that no one is unique and everyone is a conglomeration of averages. While this sounds depressing, she told me that this is actually quite freeing. If everyone is average, I don’t have to strive to be better than anyone else or prove that I’m special. Now, I’m free to be myself and pursue my own interests without worrying that I’m not being unique enough. I can succeed for myself without having to live up to anyone’s expectations.”

What does the honor of being named salutatorian mean to you?

“Being named salutatorian means that I, along with a few others, represent the Class of 2016 at graduation. Also, it serves as a reminder of the hard work and time I’ve put into the last four years of my education.”

The Whitewater High School Valedictorian for 2016 is Madhuree Patel, daughter of Bhavin and Manisha Patel.

Madhuree will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend the University of Georgia with a major in pharmacy.

Madhuree responded to the following questions:

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“Following my sister’s footsteps has really allowed me to grow and develop into the individual I am today. Seeing all of her high school dedication and hard work led her to attending Duke University made me want to emulate the same work ethic she had while in high school. I challenged myself to strive for the best and did so by taking 9 AP’s over the course of my high school career and being involved in as many extracurricular activities to stay active both academically and outside of school.”

What does the honor of being named valedictorian mean to you?

“Being named valedictorian for Whitewater High School’s Class of 2016 is quite an honor that I am truly been blessed to have been given. It means much more than just having the highest GPA. It shows that through hard work and dedication, one can achieve insurmountable feats. Throughout high school, I not only strived to excel in all of my endeavors but also took part in various extracurricular activities within the school and outside of my community by being an active Temple Youth Leader, volunteering at the local Piedmont Hospital, and taking on a research intern position through UGA’s Young Scholar’s Program where I was not only able to explore the field of agricultural science but also travel to Costa Rica where I met various research scientists and learned about their experiences and studies. Being valedictorian allows me to join the other valedictorians before me in setting an example/footprint for future generations of students to strive to follow.

The Whitewater High School Salutatorian for 2016 is Celia Clark, daughter of William and Kristin Clark.

Celia will graduate with a 4.209 grade point average and will attend the University of Georgia with a major in history.

Celia responded to the following questions:

What will be the key message of your commencement speech?

“The key message of my commencement speech is to not let your self be easily defined by others or by yourself.”

What was the best piece of advice given to you in high school and who gave you this advice? How did it help?

“The best advice given to me in high school was for me to just try my best and remember that the most important thing is to have a good heart. Mrs. Simons, my AP Art History teacher, gave my class this advice. She told us that it is more valuable to be a compassionate and hardworking student than a self-centered and naturally gifted student. This advice helped me gain a new perspective to what is really important in life and has pushed me to always try my best.”

What does the honor of being named salutatorian mean to you?

“This honor means that all my hard work and late nights studying have paid off. More importantly, this honor serves as a platform for me to give back to all of those who have helped me to become the person I am today.”