By: Erica Fatima
One School! One Family! As the first and largest public high school for African-Americans in the Southeast, Booker T. Washington boasts a proud legacy that stretches back 92 years. Named after the great, Booker T. Washington who was born a slave and became one of the most influential and celebrated African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century, the graduating class of 2016 is upholding their namesake’s legacy.
Garnering many accolades of their own in the arts, academics, athletics and community service, the Washington Bulldogs accomplishments are outstanding. Here are just a few highlights:
This year’s senior class boasts two Posse Scholars in LeDeja Holt and Nia Duncan who is also a Gates Millennium Scholar. 38 George W. Brumley Jr. Scholars, 26 HOPE recipients and 29 Achieve Atlanta scholarship winners.
In athletics, Jacque’ (Jock) Henley earned a spot on the American Football Worldwide ELITE U.S. High School Football team and played in Italy against the Italian national team, Jasmine Walker scored 1,233 career points for Bulldogs Basketball and earned a spot of the All-Region Team for AAA.
In community service, Stashawn Johnson preformed more than 350 hours of community service and organized the “Street Life Is No Life Campaign.” He led a toy drive that collected more than a thousand toys and assisted homeless citizens through “Operation Feed the Streets” and City of Refuge. Remarkably, the 162 graduating Washington Bulldogs earned more than $6.3 million in scholarships!
Their Valedictorian and Salutatorian are amazing students, representing the brightest and best at Booker T. Washington High School.
Valedictorian, Jhazzmyn J. Joiner comes from a family of educators who instilled in her the importance of education. In addition to being dually enrolled at Georgia State University, Jhazzmyn is a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society and National Beta Club.
She has been honored with her poetry being displayed in the Kennesaw State Holocaust Museum; she won a Book Award from the Wellesley Atlanta Book Club, a Certificate of Merit from the University of Georgia, and was Miss Glee 2015. She is also a member of the Varsity Tennis team.
When asked what is her most memorable high school moment, Jhazzmyn flashes a bright smile as she fondly recalls, “I had so many good moments. I think being a part of the Shakespeare Theater Production would be my defining moment because it gave me self- confidence and instilled in me a sense of discipline and focus that helped shape me into the person I am today.” Jhazzmyn aspires to work closely on educational reform as a politician and/or educator. She is attending Georgia Institute of Technology.
Booker T. Washington Salutatorian Usiel O. Hernandez, a.k.a. “Mr. Emory Prep” for
Booker T. Washington Salutatorian, Usiel O. Hernandez achieving the highest EOCT score in the U.S. History course, is a brilliant scholar and leader in the top ten percent of his class.
He has traveled to England, Wales and Ireland as a People-to-People Student Ambassador during the summer of 2015, and a dual- enrollment student at Georgia State University through the Early College Program. Usiel is the recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit and a Harvard Prize Book awardee. Notably, Usiel, as captain of the Bulldogs swim team, lead the team to victory as they placed fourth overall in the city.
Usiel says his favorite moment in high school was when he joined the swim team at Washington. “Swimming is not a very popular sport at our school. I remember on the first day of practice, the coach told me to warm up and was surprised at my skill set; most times when people tried out they couldn’t really swim well. From 9th grade on I was relied on as a leader and now swimming has gained popularity; we even placed fourth in the city competition.” Under his leadership the team has doubled its membership and is growing in popularity amongst the student body. He is also the captain of the Bulldogs soccer team.
Usiel credits his success both academically and athletically to his mom. “She was a nurse in Mexico and left everything so that my sisters and I could have access to a great education. She reminds us every day that we can achieve anything!”
Usiel is attending Georgia Institute of Technology and aspires to become an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.
Check out the Washington Bulldogs Twitter feed to see more amazing highlights @
Congratulations Booker T. Washington Graduates, You Make Us #APSSTRONG!
Read about all the outstanding APS Valedictorians and Salutatorians: 2016_Vals-Sals_Bios and Photos