CARROLLTON, GA – A special evening of special recognition was the highlight of the Carrollton Board of Education meeting Tuesday, which included honoring eight Carrollton High School seniors who are this year’s inductees into a special class of CHS alumni.
Since the Class of 2007, Carrollton High School annually has identified seniors who represent the “Three A’s,” a designation honoring personal achievements in Academics, Arts and Athletics. Part of this recognition pays tribute to the students’ ability to balance all three, a testament to their perseverance and character, said CHS Principal Ian Lyle.
“It is an achievement to excel in any of these areas,” said Lyle. “When considering the demands to be exceptional in all three, you come to appreciate how well-rounded and dedicated these students are.”
More than 60 CHS alumni have been honored with this award. The work ethic these students have exhibited over the years has translated into their adult lives, too, starting with successful college careers and later the transition to their professional lives. They will join the other honor recipients in a display on the third floor of the high school’s main academic building.
This year’s AAAs Honor Roll includes:
The epitome of a student who has seized every opportunity to be involved can be found in Brantley Colquitt. The stellar student has taken many AP and dual enrollment courses, and holds membership in honor societies and service organizations, including Beta Club and TSA. Brantley also was heavily involved as a percussionist in the band, and has developed a penchant for all things STEM. A football player and swimmer for the Trojans, as well as a competitor on the Esports team, during senior year Brantley competed on the state stage in each discipline, ultimately contributing to the first state championship title in Trojan Esports history. He is the son of Jason and Laura Colquitt and has three sisters, CHS alums Brianna and Mallorie, and Lilli, a CHS sophomore.
There is no doubt about Ella Barden’s passion for visual arts. She’s taken five art classes in high school and enrolled in AP Studio Art her senior year, and participated in the prestigious Governor’s Honors program to further study the discipline. But she is also an exceptional student academically, serving as a junior honor marshal, placed in the regional science fair, and is a leader in the National Honor Society. Ella is also an athlete, an accomplished swimmer, competing in the state prelims as a junior and at state senior year. She also ran cross country for two years, earning the 500-Mile Award in the summer of 2020. She is the daughter of Brian and Amy Barden and has a brother, Tobey, Class of 2022, who is also an alum of the AAA Honor Roll.
Jayla Gilbert’s high school career demonstrates her versatility as an academic, athlete and performer. She holds membership in honor societies, has completed numerous AP classes, and served in school club leadership in addition to her honor roll status. Active in the Trojan Band for three years, she was a member of the colorguard. Jayla also thrives in track and field and has been a member of the varsity girls track team since she was a freshman and is the current record-holder in shot put. She is the daughter of Sparkle King and Demarcus Gilbert Sr. and has five siblings.
Kate’s well-roundedness earned her prestigious status as a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate, an honor only awarded to about 5,000 high school seniors nationwide. Her academics are top notch: Junior honor marshal, 12 AP classes, numerous achievement awards, capped off with an artistic flair. Athletically, she is an experienced cross country runner and lacrosse midfielder, helping her team post the longest winning streak in CHS girls lacrosse history. A third generation Trojan, she is the daughter of Katy and Andrew Mills and has three siblings, Drew, Wilson, and Artie.
Kate Slappey is a student who is willing to try everything – especially when it comes to athletics. Yet, even her competitive spirit hasn’t kept her away from performing academically, too. She is in the top 10% of her class, challenged herself with numerous AP courses, was inducted into the NHS, and is a Presbyterian College scholar. She also is a student of the arts, taking classes every year and is a member of the NAHS. She also served on the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In sports, while Kate’s passion is soccer, competing all four years of high school, she also experienced track, cross country and basketball two years each. She is the daughter of Greg and Angie Slappey and has three siblings, Steven (Class of 2021), Eli, and Lucy.
Kyleigh Smith is a cheerleader for academics as well as athletics. The U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee’s resumé is exceptional, including earning her academic letter all four years of high school and taking nine AP courses to prepare herself for college. A student of leadership, she served on the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the yearbook staff. Kyleigh also has dabbled in art, including painting. She has been a football/competitive cheerleader since she was a freshman, and finishes her competitive career in this arena with two region championships. The daughter of Kenneth and Ramona Smith has a sister, Kendall, also a recipient of this award.
Ezekiel Ussery maneuvers from academics to athletics to the arts effortlessly and with marked success. He is ranked in the Top 10 of his class academically, prepared for college with IB, AP, and dual enrollment credentials under his belt. He is also an accomplished thespian, with roles in three spring musicals, as well as participation in region and literary events. Zeke, as many call him, also is an athlete, contributing to the cross country team and also the swim team, which he served as captain his senior year, and competed at state all four years of high school. His student involvement as a whole is exceptional, too, as a member of six student organizations, and has attended Boys State as well as earning other awards. He is the son of Brian and Kim Ussery and has an older sister, Kendall, Class of 2019.
The best way to describe Yanet is an all-encompassing, all-around student. Her success is exceptional in academics, receiving not only many recognition awards, but maintaining a 4.0 GPA even after completing the rigor of 17 AP/IB courses. To address her fear of public speaking, she joined the renowned debate program where she competed in multiple tournaments. Yanet also embraces self expression through art, creating many pieces with different media and some put on exhibition. Her sport of choice is soccer, a sport she has played since she was six years old, and has been on the Lady Trojans varsity team all four years. She is the daughter of Joel Gonzalez and Apolonia Zacarias and has two sisters, Mariela, Class of 2020, and Joelia, a junior.