Forest Park HS students are invited to the White House for beating the odds!

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Auriana and Amber are both college-bound in the fall - the first in their family to pursue further education after high school! This was no easy feat. Their chances of graduating from Forest Park High School and pursuing post-secondary education was nearly impossible without the support from CIS of Atlanta.

Both students were invited to attend the third annual Beating The Odds summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. As part of the First Lady's Reach Higher initiative and Better Make Room campaign, the event was an opportunity for more than 130 college-bound students from across the country to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments. At this year's summit, the First Lady was joined by YouTube personality Tyler Oakley, who moderated the discussion, as well as a panel with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, a current college student, and musical artist Jidenna.

AURIANA
Auriana graduated with a 3.8 GPA despite growing up as a homeless student, spending her high school years in an extended stay hotel, and transferring from school-to-school. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her high school class. She will attend Howard University in the fall to study business.

AMBER
Amber is the epitome of dedication and perseverance. Due to the lack of focus and hanging around the wrong crowd, Amber had 14 credits – barely enough to be considered a junior. Through a rigorous work regime, Amber made up all lost credits and attained Honor Roll status in the 12th grade. Amber will attend Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the fall to study nursing.

Watch what Auriana has to say about her once-in-a-lifetime experience to the White House!



Check out photos below from their trip to the White House:

Failure was not an option for Westlake HS student

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Upon transferring from an Atlanta Public School to Westlake High School, Treshunda had low test scores, numerous failing courses and behavioral referrals for fighting. Even while in a new school setting, Treshunda was tardy for class more than 135 times, her grades continued to drop and her behavior seemed to get worse.


Treshunda was the first student CIS Site Coordinator Dr. Demona Warren interacted with on her first day at work. Demona devised a plan of action to help Treshunda set her goals, establish healthy relationships with her peers and adults, and get back on track academically, with only three months remaining until the end of her ninth-grade school year. Treshunda had already failed three classes first semester and was in danger of failing seven classes in her second semester, in addition to having several in- and out-of-school suspensions.


With support from CIS, Treshunda participated in after-school tutorials, made up missed assignments, had numerous parent-teacher conferences and completed two years of summer school. She continued to check in with Demona throughout the school day, have weekly Chat & Chew sessions, remained active in monthly small group mentoring programs and participated in various incentive programs.

Treshunda also joined the track team and excelled in Track & Field, receiving her first state championship ring in the 2014-2015 school year.

Treshunda had perfect attendance, zero behavioral referrals and passed all of her classes. She stayed dedicated to graduate with her Class of 2016, and she did. She will attend Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the fall to study business.


Videos featured at the 2016 Choose Success event

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Individual Student Award Winners

Five students received awards for Individual Student Achievement. The videos below provide an opportunity for you to hear some of their stories in their own words.


Community Service Projects

The service project video provides an overview of some of the outstanding community service projects implemented by our students.


CIS Programs and Impact

Community partners, educators and students talk about the impact CIS of Atlanta has on students, and program results.


George H. Johnson Tribute

This year's Anne Cox Chambers Champion for Kids Award recipient was George H. Johnson, a real estate visionary and philanthropist.


Photo Gallery

COMING SOON...
Photos from the 2016 event are courtesy of Paula M. Gould Photography.

A crowning achievement

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It was a dream come true for Kelsy Brown to be crowned Miss Westlake High School, but winning the title was only one of the ambitious teen’s many personal goals.


All A’s and B’s in high school, a high GPA and getting accepted to Albany State University, her favorite historically black college, were also on her wish list. The only obstacle standing in her way to success it turns out would be herself.

Kelsy’s transition from middle school to high school was difficult. She struggled with handling her course load, studying and choosing the right friends. With a low GPA at the end of the first semester in her ninth grade year, Kelsy found support in CIS Site Coordinator Dr. Demona Warren.


“I spent too much time hanging out with my friends and on extracurricular activities instead of my studies. I needed structure and to learn how to balance everything.” What followed was a 15-minute conversation that Kelsy says changed her life forever. “CIS was a big help. They made sure I stayed on track. And they were always there for me.”

Weekly sessions and check-ins with Dr. Warren helped Kelsy learn to manage her time and chart a course for success. She failed geometry in the 10th grade and it bought her GPA down again. In her 11th grade year, Kelsy was not happy with her SAT score and in 12th grade year her ACT score. She elected to retake the exams to improve it, and she did.

With each minor set-back, Kelsy recommitted herself to her studies, worked hard and reminded herself that she could do whatever she put her mind to. She even found time to fulfill another one of her passions — managing the school’s varsity basketball and football teams.

Dr. Warren said, “She’s not the same shy, soft spoken Kelsy that I first met. The confidence she exudes now is wonderful. I am super proud of her and what she has accomplished.”


Now the senior has a 3.2 GPA and will graduate in May. The reigning Miss Westlake was one of the guest speakers at the school’s Senior Baccalaureate Service.

“I’ve overcome a lot,” says the 18 year-old, who wants to become an elementary school teacher before opening her own day care facility. “I’m really proud of myself for what I’ve achieved.”

For the talent portion of the school Miss Westlake pageant, Kelsy performed ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ a spoken word that she co-wrote with her aunt. Her inspiration came from personal experience and witnessing the struggles that so many high school students encounter.

“There were times when I felt I couldn’t breathe and I felt overwhelmed,” she said. “I wanted to speak to all students, to let them know it takes time, but you just have to be strong and you can get through it.”

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