Top 10 Magnet School seniors for the Class of 2014 (listed alphabetically):
Michael David Bonar
Charles Ray Garner
Rholonda Louisa Pruitt
Jeremy Brett Rachels
Stafford Chaney L. Ross
Sheyenne Adrianna J. Rowe
Chelse Amoy Steele
Qingwan Michelle Zhang
It was a competitive field among Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology's seniors, but Monday morning two emerged on top as RMSST announced Sonam Brahmbhatt as its valedictorian and Aaron Barron as its salutatorian.
Valedictorian Sonam Brahmbhatt
Rockdale native Sonam Alka Brahmbhatt was almost the last to know she had been named RMSST's valedictorian.
On Monday, when the results were announced, Brahmbhatt was deep in the middle of an AP test. Once she finished, she realized her phone was overloaded with Twitter and voice messages. But before she could even check her messages, she was met at the door by school principal Maryanne Suddeth and counselor Lauren Lewin with the good news.
The 17-year-old is the daughter of Alka and Bharat Brahmbhatt and has one younger sister, 15-year-old Suhani, who is also a Magnet school student.
This fall, Brahmbhatt is keeping with the red and black and heading to University of Georgia to study biochemistry and Spanish, with the goal of eventually becoming a doctor or researcher.
She said she's always loved life sciences. "I have a passion for learning about biology and anatomy. I think it's really cool and interesting and I would enjoy dedicating my life in this field," she wrote. This past summer, she was able to conduct research in UGA's laboratories.
In her first semester as a freshman, Brahmbhatt was reluctant to attend the Magnet school, not because of the academics but because she would be leaving her friends behind at George Walton Academy. But then she realized, she fit right in. The classes were fun, challenging and very hands-on. And she was also able to continue playing soccer, which she's always loved playing, with the stipulation that her grades remain top notch.
Besides being a top scholar, Brahmbhatt also particpated in a wide variety of activities, including four years on the varsity soccer team, two years on the JV volleyball and two on the varsity volleyball team, and she was also part of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Science Team, and youth group at BAPS temple.
Her parents have inspired her and always encouraged her to do her best, she said. "My cousins served as role models, and most of all my religious leader and Guru Pramukh Swami is an inspiration for me in every aspect of my life."
The Magnet valedictorian was named a UGA charter scholarship winner, ISEF 2013 finalist, honored by the local Rotary clubs for being the top Magnet student in science, National Merit scholarship commended student, and an AP scholar with distinction
Salutatorian Aaron Barron
For salutatorian Aaron Barron, 18, his love affair with science and technology began long before he attended the Magnet school.
"As early as third grade, I kept an invention journal filled with frivolous contraptions that would undoubtedly make my life easier," Barron wrote in an email. "I was constantly thinking about new ideas, and was committed to making them become a reality one day. That feeling of curiosity and innovation has existed within me for as long as I can remember."
Barron is a product of Rockdale schools from K-12. He attended Barksdale Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Davis Middle School as well was Rockdale Magnet School. He is the sone of Rosolynn and NiQuel Barron and is the oldest of three.
This fall, he'll be heading to that west coast Ivy, Stanford University, where he plans to study biomechanical engineering.
"The intricate mechanics of engineering stimulates my mind because it requires a combination of intelligent thought and years of knowledge to implement an efficient product. The human mind fascinates me, and I like to look at artificial intelligence through a combination of probability and psychological desires. Being presented with challenges inspires me to open my mind to new and innovative solutions."
Eventually, he said, "My career objective is to develop a start-up company that works with the citizens of a specific region, understanding their culture and economic background to create efficient technology to solve crucial environmental issues," Barron wrote.
Barron has won a wall full of distinctions and awards, including the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge Scholarship, Washington Youth Tour Scholarship, APCA Scholarship, AABE Scholarship, Burger King Scholarship, AKA Scholarship, Snapping Shoals All-Around Student Scholarship. National Society of Professional Engineers Award, Semi-Finalist Impromptu Varsity Debate Championship, 4th Place International Zero Robotics Competition, AP Scholar with Distinction, Bronze Medal ISWEEP International Science Competition, 1st Optics and Photonics Science Fair Award.
During his time at the Magnet School, Barron has also been part of the Peer Mentoring Program, Varsity Debate Team, National Honor Society, Engineering and Robotics Team, Varsity Tennis Team, Zero Robotics Team, National Beta Club.
He credits the many people in his life that helped him reach his achievements. "Every teacher, faculty, mentor, family and friends have pushed me to get to where I am today, and I am thankful for it," he said.
Rockdale County High School also announced its valedictorian and salutatorian on Monday as Brooke Gable and Brianna Patton, respectively. Check back Tuesday for more on the Bulldogs' val and sal.