School: Benteen Elementary School
Everyone familiar with ten-year-old Terrineka Seabrum agrees that she is one enthusiastic and self-motivated student at school and at home. In fact, Terrineka approaches just about everything with a smile – especially when it comes to her favorite subjects, reading and language arts.
In the classroom, Terrineka uses her passion for learning to influence her peers, while unwittingly demonstrating her leadership potential.
“When working on her tasks, whether it is individually or with a peer, she takes her time to understand the expectations and she makes sure her peers understand the same expectations,” says Terrinika’s fifth-grade teacher, Erica Turman.
Terrinika’s love for reading motivated her to join the 2013-2014 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team at Benteen, and her avid reading practices have resulted in her developing such strong reading skills, she has become a high point and average correct participant in Benteen’s Accelerated Reader program.
Although reading and language arts are the subjects she enjoys most, Terrinika, a student in the school’s gifted and talented program, excels in all subjects. Every year since starting elementary school, Terrinika has earned a place on the honor roll or principal’s list, and she has achieved Student of the Month recognition numerous times. The fifth-grader has received a variety of awards for academics and citizenship, and Terrinika was recently named Benteen’s Ben Carson Scholar for the 2013 academic year.
Named after the renowned African American surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, the Carson Scholars Fund awards college scholarships worth $1,000 to students in fourth through 11th grade who excel academically and who are dedicated to serving their communities. In her winning Carson Scholars Fund essay, Terrineka elaborated about her work on a community project that benefitted individuals in her neighborhood.
School: B.E.S.T. Academy High School
As high school graduation draws near, Jabir Donaldson is preparing for college. And he says B.E.S.T. Academy has positioned him to succeed in college by helping him develop his leadership and scholastic talents, discover marketing, meet important people, and travel to exotic places.
Jabir began his B.E.S.T. experience as a reluctant sixth-grader, frustrated because his mother had enrolled him in an all-boys school. By the end of the year, however, Jabir says he realized he liked it.
These days, the A/B student is focused on bigger things. Jabir actively participates with Junior Achievement – a B.E.S.T. Academy partner – and their JA-Fellows program, which exposes students to entrepreneurship and leadership. As a program veteran, Jabir says he has learned a lot about market research and financial management, and his JA team even launched their own small business. The program directly influenced his decision to major in marketing and minor in economics in college.
Jabir also hones his leadership skills through other activities. He was elected B.E.S.T. Academy student body president in 11th grade, and re-elected in 12th grade. His peers in the Boy Scouts of America demonstrated their faith in his leadership by electing him senior patrol leader – a position that gives him ultimate responsibility for all the scouts in all the patrols in his troop. Jabir also serves as president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Action Network Youth Movement, an organization he joined in 2011.
Although he loves sports – he swam on the B.E.S.T. swim team earlier this year – Jabir prefers competing in the debate arena.
“I’ve been on the debate team since seventh grade,” says Jabir. I like competing with my mind, and I like arguing for my beliefs. It’s fun using my mind to figure out how to make someone change their position and adopt mine.”
In 2012 and 2013, Jabir enhanced his Spanish by traveling with his classmates to Panama and Nicaragua respectively. And he has met several well-known individuals while at B.E.S.T.
“Dr. Ben Carson was the most memorable,” says Jabir. “He knew how to relate to the students and he seemed genuine. He told us how he went from being a poor student to a pediatric neurosurgeon. He was very inspiring.”
In addition to numerous awards public speaking awards, Jabir has been honored for debate team performances and perfect attendance. After college, he plans to become an entrepreneur.
Name: Naajia Muhammad
School: Booker T. Washington High School, School of Early College
Naajia Muhammad demonstrated a love for learning at an early age, and shortly thereafter, she discovered that school was a great place to nurture that enthusiasm.
Today, this Washington Early College student sees school as a place where she can learn much more than academics: school is also important for social development. It is a place she can have fun socializing with her peers and a place that allows her to observe how her peers interact with each other – which has actually taught her a lot about human behavior.
After she graduates from high school, Naajia plans to feed her interest in human socialization and communication by earning her Bachelors degree in Psychology and Linguistics, and ultimately obtaining a PhD in psychology.
Naajia’s academic record hints that these goals are well within her reach. She has received numerous awards for her academic achievements, and in addition to landing a spot in the top 10 percent of her class, Naajia is a member of the 1500+SAT/21+ACT club. By demonstrating such strong potential for academic success in college, Naajia gained the attention of officials at the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, who listed her as an Outstanding Participant for the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
Such distinguished scholastic achievements could give the impression that Naajia spends all of her time focusing on academic pursuits. In fact, she is actively involved in a variety of non-academic activities.
A veteran vocalist, Naajia sings in the school glee club and the choral ensemble. She taps into her creative side by dancing with The D’AIR Project – an innovative arts company that unleashes creative expression through aerial dance and movement arts – and she hones her leadership skills by participating in C5 Georgia – an intense five-year program that grooms high-potential teens for leadership and post secondary success.
In her remaining spare time, Naajia enjoys giving nail manicures, writing poetry and short stories, and reading novels.
With such a busy schedule, what keeps Naajia from slacking off? Naajia says positive feedback from others is a big motivator; hearing people tell her that she is doing a great job encourages her to do even better. However, she says her biggest source of motivation comes from within.
“Who better to be successful for than myself?” she asks. “No matter how the other people view me, I have to want it.” Ultimately, Naajia says, this belief motivates her to do better and become better.
Name: Richard Aycht III
School: Gideons Elementary School
How can one begin to tell the story of this phenomenal fifth-grade gifted student? Richard Aytch has been a student at Gideons Elementary since kindergarten, and this school year has been his best year yet: he participated in the Gideon’s new library dedication and the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new world-class fitness center, where he works out three times a week during his physical education classes.
As a safety patrol and the recently elected president of the student council, Richard displays leadership skills, and acts as a role model for his schoolmates daily. His first task as president is to meet with Gideons principal Wanda Harmon at a chat and chew session for Harmon and all student council members.
Last school term Richard had the honor of meeting civil rights leader and U.S. Congressman John Lewis. He met two more civil rights legends — Reverend Joseph E. Lowery and his wife Evelyn — during the SCLC Women’s Civil Rights Heritage Tour. Following the death of Mrs. Lowery, Richard wrote a poem and dedicated it as an homage to the civil rights activist.
Mrs. Lowery, a Friend to All
Mrs. Lowery, Mrs. Lowery – A very dear friend to all
Her inspiration for human rights
Her kindness was all the world needs
Started an organization to help in every single way
To get equality that all Americans and women deserved
A very dear friend to all eternity
Her wise and kind soul will be sent to the heavens
Where God will guide and protect it
We all love you – Mrs. Lowery, Mrs. Lowery
Richard is busy developing his social science project about the government partial shutdown. He won a blue ribbon last year at the city science fair and is excited about competing this year with research on DNA. Richard not only excels in academics but in the arts too. As a member of the Gideons’ Junior Beta Club, he is completing art pieces to compete at the state convention in November. Richard future looks bright as he is making plans to attend college to become an attorney at law.
Submitted by: Mrs. Darlene Dobbs, Gifted Teacher, C. L. Gideons Elementary School