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Forsyth Central High School recognizes students going on to college, career with inaugural celebration
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Allyson Carvell, the director of student services and lead counselor at Central, speaks to the crowd of families, teachers, employers and students at Forsyth Central High School's inaugural College and Career Commitment Celebration on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Sawyer Thomas worked hard during her four years at Forsyth Central High School to complete the cosmetology career pathway and licensing program so that she could follow her passion for hairstyling after high school.

Now a senior, Thomas is graduating later this month and plans to step into her job at Level Spa Salon in Cumming. Getting a head start, she has already visited the salon, met her new coworkers and started training alongside them.

“I immediately fell in love with my coworkers and the job,” Thomas said.

To recognize this hard work and dedication to her career and academics, Forsyth Central High School honored Thomas along with her peers who found a career, enlisted in the military or received a fine arts scholarship before graduation at its first-ever College and Career Commitment and Fine Arts Signing celebrations.

Held in the school’s media center, Principal Dr. Josh Lowe introduced a crowd of families, students and teachers to the College and Career Commitment Celebration where they recognized 10 students either going into a career or the U.S. military.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate students who have done the right things for going on to do what’s next, and we’re very excited to honor them today,” Lowe said.

Allyson Carvell, the director of student services and lead counselor at Central, explained that the school’s new College and Career Center has served to offer students such as Thomas resources and support in finding post-secondary options that work for them.

“Through the efforts of our community and our college and career committee, we have had over 1,000 students cross our threshold in our College and Career Center back there since the start of the school year,” Carvell said. “And so today, we are gathering to celebrate our graduates who are joining the armed forces or who are entering the workforce. These students have spent countless hours working towards their future, and we couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.”

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Forsyth Central High School Principal Dr. Josh Lowe introduces guests to the school's first-ever College and Career Commitment Celebration on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Carvell called the names of each of the seven seniors going on to enlist in the U.S. military:

●     ZaQuan McClendon, U.S. Army;

●     Jacob Wingo, U.S. Army;

●     Arielle Cohen, U.S. Navy;

●     Reise King, U.S. Navy;

●     Delton Castleberry, U.S. Air Force Space Force;

●     Luis Anderson Perez, U.S. Marines;

●     Anakin Arawin Smith, U.S. Marines.

Then, she named the three students going on to a career after graduation:

●     Joseph Norton, RaceTrac;

●     Anderson Monroy De La Cruz, The Ridge-Great Steaks and Seafood;

●     Sawyer Thomas, Level Spa Salon.

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Forsyth Central High School recognized its seniors who already have their careers lined up after graduation at the school's inaugural College and Career Commitment Celebration on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

After the end of the ceremony, many of the students said they were excited to be recognized by the school for their hard work and to soon move on to future careers.

“I put a lot of time and effort into being able to get this done, so getting a little bit of recognition for how hard I worked feels pretty good,” Thomas said.

Reise King, a senior enlisting in the U.S. Navy, said the ceremony was his chance to show the school and peers what his future will look like as he leaves the Division of Family and Children Services when he turns 18.

After trying out engineering programs and internships in cybersecurity, King said he is excited to try out naval or aviation mechanics in the U.S. Navy.

“I’m looking forward to doing it because it gives me a purpose and I’ll also help set myself up for the future,” King said.

After the celebration, Fine Arts Department Chairman Kevin Whitley invited eight other students into the media center for the Fine Arts Signing ceremony where they were recognized for being awarded top scholarships to art colleges in Georgia and across the U.S.

Whitley said holding this kind of ceremony within the fine arts is important not only to recognize students for their hard work but to also show the community what all students can do with a future in the art world.

“In the athletic world, they have signing days when a student excels in a sport and that talent carries them further,” Whitely said. “I think it’s just as important in the fine arts because I think a lot of parents don’t realize …. you can make a future and you can be successful in the arts after high school.”

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Forsyth Central High School's senior fine arts students were recognized during the inaugural Fine Arts Signing Day on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

The students recognized were:

●     Jacob Haslett was awarded the presidential scholarship to Oglethorpe University, the second-highest scholarship available for students. Along with the university’s Flagship 50 award, Haslett will be awarded nearly his full tuition to study art history;

●     Mick Pereria earned a full scholarship to study theater at Oglethorpe University. Pereria competed against more than 30 other students for the scholarship, completing a Shakespearian monologue and interview process;

●     Natalie Bazemore earned a $3,000 yearly scholarship for musical education and vocal performance at Georgia Southern University;

●     Kaylee Traverson earned the highest scholarship for musical theatre and academic performance to Reinhardt University;

●     Jack Ramu was awarded a merit scholarship to The Juilliard School for trumpet performance following an audition;

●     Olivia Thees was awarded a $54,000 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design for animation based on her portfolio of work;

●     Clara Anne Rippe was the first student from Forsyth Central to win the Savannah College of Art and Design Distinguished Scholar Competition, earning an $80,000 scholarship;

●     Aidan Wharton earned a $12,000 art scholarship for graphic design to Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Mick Pereria, left, and Jacob Haslett, right, pose with a representative from Oglethorpe University after being awarded scholarships for art history and theatre performance, respectfully. - photo by Sabrina Kerns